April In December

Is it really April Fools’ Day and not Christmas Eve Eve? Is this the cruelest month, not the winter wonderland month?

In the next few days as the attention shifts from the political to the personal we expect skulduggery to reign supreme. The travesties to come we can only imagine now that Obama and Obama’s Dimocrats have at least a week of “Friday Dump Day” opportunities.

We know that tomorrow, as shoppers (those with jobs) head to buy gifts and the networks of travel are filled with “Home For the Holidays” voyagers, Senate Dimocrats will be busy. Not only will there be a vote to advance the Obama health scam there will also be a new debt ceiling authorized.

The measure, passed last week by the House of Representatives, would increase the debt limit, now at $12.1 trillion, by $290 billion.

Senate Democrats may approve the measure largely by themselves because most, if not all, Republicans are expected to vote against it, Republican aides said. Democrats control the Senate, 60-40.

The good news is that Dimocrats were not able to raise the debt ceiling as much as they wanted. That’s what passes for good news this April December.

Democratic leaders had hoped to raise the limit by at least $1.8 trillion, enough to ensure they would not have to revisit the issue before the November 2010 congressional elections. But they were unable to agree on measures that lawmakers had hoped to attach to the legislation to control the debt. The two-month hike provides more time to reach a deal.

The government posted a record $1.4 trillion deficit in the fiscal year ended September 30 and is on track this year to spend at least $1 trillion more than it collects.

The vote to raise the debt ceiling only $290 billion was the result of a deal between Senate Republicans and Dimocrats:

Senate Republicans agreed Tuesday to allow a Christmas Eve vote on raising the federal debt ceiling but are insisting on a 60-vote supermajority for passage, a precedent that could come back to haunt both parties in the future.

Debt ceiling votes are inevitably partisan but high-stakes ventures, and this is even more so today, since failure risks throwing the government into default at a time when Washington relies on foreign investment to help finance its burgeoning deficits.

For this reason, the long-standing bipartisan Senate practice has been to require only a simple majority on free-standing bills to raise the debt ceiling. Tuesday’s agreement breaks new ground, establishing that 60 votes will be needed for passage on this week’s debt vote and another to be debated in January.

Republicans are hypocrites with their complaints of raising the debt ceiling but the good news is that they are at least doing something to impede the hemorrhage of money. It is sad that such harsh measures, such as a 60 vote threshold, must be deployed in order to debate fiscal waste, but it is April and the fools are in charge.

More raises for the debt limit are in store and maybe some sanity will someday prevail. But don’t expect sanity or the fools to be rousted soon. This April Fools’ Day might last years.

Pending in the Senate already is a second House resolution raising the ceiling by about half this, or $925 billion. It’s now anticipated that this measure will be called up Jan. 20 and amended by Democrats to set a new unspecified target. And as part of Tuesday’s agreement, 11 potential amendments will be made in order, including five backed by Republicans. [snip]

A 60-vote threshold is also established for this amendment to be added, and the confrontation sets the stage for what could be a game-changing debate on fiscal policy — all within days of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address and the release of his new 2011 budget in February.

We don’t really expect a “game-changing debate on fiscal policy”. We do expect a lot of flowery words, which will add up to a bunch of lies, and promises and more promises on top of promises.

All the promises will be broken however. The latest bit of news this April, just before Christmas, has to do with the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Remember, Obama promised in January to close that durn thing down?

As a result, officials now believe that they are unlikely to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer its population of terrorism suspects until 2011 at the earliest — a far slower timeline for achieving one of President Obama’s signature national security policies than they had previously hinted.

Here at Big Pink we are not surprised at all. We wrote today’s news back on January 12, 2009. Our crystal ball is still working it seems. This is what we wrote:

When Obama made his campaign promise to close Guantanamo the situation was just as complex as it is today. If anything the actual issue itself should be less complex because there has been so much more time to think about Guantanamo. Obama is simply hedging his bets and flim-flamming Americans with flowery words. Obama can’t be trusted.

The Obama flim-flams are very easy to predict. If Obama says it’s a sunny day, look out your window because it is snowing or raining. If Obama says “I didn’t campaign on the public option” you can bet he campaigned on the public option.

Well, looky here, Obama did say yesterday “I didn’t campaign on the public option”.

In the interview, Obama vigorously defended the legislation, saying he is “not just grudgingly supporting the bill. I am very enthusiastic about what we have achieved.”

“Nowhere has there been a bigger gap between the perceptions of compromise and the realities of compromise than in the health-care bill,” Obama said. “Every single criteria for reform I put forward is in this bill.” [snip]

Those elements are in the House and Senate versions of the legislation; their competing proposals will have to be reconciled in conference committee next year. The House bill includes a government-run insurance plan favored by progressive Democrats; the Senate version does not. “I didn’t campaign on the public option,” Obama said in the interview.

Even the Hopium guzzlers at the Gabor sister website are laughing at that Obama lie. In August, those Hopium guzzlers posted video after video and document after document (including from the Obama campaign promise website) detailing Obama’s lies on health care.

Our favorite category of Obama health care lies is the one about how he would block lobbyists and beat up on Big Pharma – before he made the deals with Big Pharma lobbyists.

And we can’t forget the attacks on Hillary over mandates. Obama was against mandates before he was for mandates. Hillary’s mandates made sense because they were part of a well thought out plan for health care and she would have fought for her sensible plan.

Expect more Obama lies in the coming week while Americans are distracted with family and deteriorating finances. Obama and the Dimocrats think Americans are fools. So expect more scams, bigger scams, scamier scams, before the new year.

The calendar says it’s December, but for Obama and his Dimocrats, it’s always April.

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155 thoughts on “April In December

  1. Wed, Dec. 23, 2009

    McMaster, 7 others to probe health care bill

    By LEROY CHAPMAN JR.

    South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster and top lawyers from seven other states said Tuesday they are looking into whether the federal health care reform bill is unconstitutional.

    The move comes a day after U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint, both South Carolina Republicans, asked McMaster, who is seeking the GOP nomination for governor, to look into whether a no-cost Medicaid deal given to Nebraska is legal.

    U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat, got a concession that will give his state a 100 percent federal reimbursement for Nebraska’s Medicaid spending. The federal government will reimburse other states at 91 percent under the proposed bill.

    Graham, DeMint and other Republicans argue South Carolina and other states should not be on the hook to pay for Nebraska’s Medicaid patients.

    The state’s top Democrat, U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn, said he thinks the complaints are politically motivated.

    McMaster and Washington State Attorney General Mark McKenna, also a Republican, said they are investigating whether this deal sets a new legal precedent, one they can challenge and overturn. McMaster held a conference call with attorneys general from Texas, Alabama, North Dakota, Colorado and Michigan – all Republicans – to discuss collective legal action.

    “States generally are treated in a similar manner,” McMaster wrote. “In this case, Nebraska will be treated in a widely divergent manner than any other state.”

    The landmark legislation aimed at insuring millions of currently uninsured Americans while limiting insurance companies’ ability to deny or limit health coverage is set to pass Congress with little Republican support.

    “Rather than sitting here and carping about what Nelson got for Nebraska, I would say to my friends on the other side of the aisle: ‘Let’s get together and see what we can get for South Carolina,'” Clyburn said.

    Clyburn said he would try to get South Carolina a sweeter deal – a 95 percent reimbursement rate for Medicaid, which he said would save the state millions of dollars. More than 700,000 poor South Carolinians are covered by Medicaid, and the health care reform bill could increase that number by 50 percent, according to one state estimate.

    Clyburn, the third-highest-ranking member of the U.S. House, said South Carolina and other poor states deserve a higher reimbursement rate. The state has exceptional need given its comparatively poor health, high jobless rate and pockets of entrenched poverty.

    State Rep. Chip Limehouse, R-Charleston, a top Republican on the S.C. House Ways and Means Committee, pointed out in a letter to the Obama administration that the S.C. Budget and Control Board cut state spending by $238 million last week. Consequently, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, which manages the state’s Medicaid program, will take a $38 million hit and cannot afford to subsidize Nebraska, he said.

    “It is imperative that we, too, receive the same consideration provided to Nebraska, in order for our state to continue to provide services to the Medicaid population,” Limehouse said in his letter.

    Clyburn warned that S.C. Republicans might be opening a legal battle that could eventually backfire. The state gets comparatively more federal benefits because of its poverty, he said.

    The challenges to the health care overhaul are likely to continue until it passes early next year.

    DeMint on Tuesday joined other conservatives in the U.S. Senate to force a vote today on the health care bill’s constitutionality.

    “Forcing every American to purchase a product is absolutely inconsistent with our Constitution and the freedoms our founding fathers hoped to protect,” DeMint said.

    Still, Clyburn is confident health care will pass early next year. He will play a role in the House-Senate compromise on the bill, and Clyburn said in the end the reform bill would save money.

    He pointed to recent announcements about funding for community health care centers in Charleston and Beaufort. Both centers, Clyburn said, would end some costs insured patients pay for uninsured patients because the uninsured no longer would burden emergency rooms by seeking expensive, primary care there.

    Clyburn said Gov. Mark Sanford’s projection of hundreds of millions of dollars in new costs for South Carolina are based on federal numbers that don’t account for such assumed savings, which Clyburn said would be “exponential.”

    “The governor understands that; he was up here with us for six years,” Clyburn said.

    Sanford, who last week urged senators to vote down the health care bill, said the bill would be a burden on states.

    “I must say that for anyone to suggest that a nearly trillion dollar government takeover of health care that moves a sixth of the U.S. economy under bureaucrats’ control will somehow result in substantive cost savings for the taxpayer borders on the ridiculous,” Sanford said.

    http://www.thestate.com/169/story/1081583.html?storylink=omni_popular

  2. 1994 is no precedent for what is occurring now. First of all, we were not on the verge of bankruptcy in 1994, whereas today we are. If you adjust the naive cost assumptions of this bill, what you are left with is a deficit busting piece of legislation at a time when we cannot afford it. Second, universal coverage is achieved through a COERCIVE regime of fines and prosecution, whereby people who do not want insurance are forced to buy it–welcome to the collect whose service is perfect freedom. Third, this bill is written by insurance companies and designed to enhance their interests at the expense of the American People, whereas Hillary’s bill was designed to benefit the American People and prevent insurance company abuse. Simply put, this is not universal heath insurance coverage as I understand the term. Fourth, this bill carves out special benefits based on race as opposed to economic circumstance and that is unconstitutional. The legislation Hillary worked on made no such distinction. Sixth, the contents of this bill, combined with the underhanded methods by which it was designed and enacted will be radioactive in 2010 in my opinion.

  3. How can anyone argue that being forced to buy insurance on penalty of fines and jail constitutes a new entitlement? That is Orwellian double speak. When Obama, aka John Shaft makes that phony disingenuous argument people of good will and common sense should call him on it.

  4. WH putting health-care off until … February?
    POSTED AT 11:36 AM ON DECEMBER 23, 2009 BY ED MORRISSEY
    SHARE ON FACEBOOK | PRINTER-FRIENDLY

    Politico’s Mike Allen and Alexander Trowbridge have some bad news for Democrats, especially in the Senate, where Harry Reid has kept the chamber locked in battle over ObamaCare for weeks in an attempt to hit the finish line by Christmas. Barack Obama plans to put the health-care overhaul on the back burner until after the State of the Union address, pushing any conference between the House and Senate off until February. Instead, Obama plans a “hard pivot” towards jobs and the economy:

    The White House privately anticipates health care talks to slip into February — past President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address — and then plans to make a “very hard pivot” to a new jobs bill, according to senior administration officials.

    Obama has been told that disputes over abortion and the tight schedule are highly likely to delay a final deal, a blow to the president who had hoped to trumpet a health care victory in his big speech to the nation. But he has also been told that House Democratic leaders seem inclined, at least for now, to largely accept the compromise worked out in the Senate, virtually assuring he will eventually get a deal.

    Internally, White House aides are plunging into a 2010 plan calling for an early focus on creating jobs, especially in the energy sector, along with starting a conversation about deficit reduction measures, the administration officials said.

    Both will be major themes for his first State of the Union speech, which will likely take place on Jan. 26 or Feb. 2. White House aides are in the early stages of planning for the national address, but Obama will not only trumpet what he has described as his “B-plus” performance in 2009 but also set the stage for the 2010 congressional campaigns.

    This tells us that the White House has done some legwork in the House and found that the lower chamber is not going to adopt the Senate version as is, as Politico also reports this morning:

    House Democrats insisted Tuesday they have no plans to roll over for the Senate in upcoming negotiations on a health reform bill, even as they acknowledged it would be all but impossible to reinsert a public insurance option or force the so-called millionaire’s tax on the Senate.

    Either move would disrupt Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s no-margin-for-error 60-vote majority. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team seem to have their sights set on lower-profile – but no-less important – differences, like boosting affordability credits in the final bill and starting the insurance exchange a year earlier, which they did in the House.

    On a conference call Tuesday, Pelosi (D-Calif.) walked the party’s leadership team through differences in the two bills.

    Other differences the speaker mentioned Tuesday include: replacing the Senate’s state-run exchanges with a national exchange established under the House bill, adding tougher mandates to make sure everyone secures health coverage and closing a gap in prescription-drug coverage next year. Senate negotiators have agreed to close the so-called “donut hole,” but they haven’t agreed on a time to implement those changes.

    Forget Raul Grijalva’s note of encouragement. These issues will be too tough to overcome without the House reworking the bill. That will either require a conference committee to resolve the two bills or an attempt by Harry Reid to get the Senate to buy a House version (the “ping-pong” strategy), either of which would be subject to cloture votes and unlikely to succeed to a floor vote.

    The longer that debate drags, the further Obama drops in the polls, which is why this move only makes sense if the White House sees weeks more futility in the health-care overhaul debate. Even liberal commentators like the Seattle Times editorial board want Democrats to shelve ObamaCare and start paying attention to the fact that unemployment has spun out of control on their watch. Deficits are even more wild, as Obama’s OMB Director Peter Orszag was forced to acknowledge when he admitted that he had underestimated deficits over the next ten years by 22%, or $2,200,000,000,000.

    Unfortunately for Democrats in Congress, that move tosses them under a very big bus. They wanted to close this debate as early as possible in order to allow anger over the unpopular measure to ebb in time for their re-election campaigns. Under the new timing, Congress would have to consider ObamaCare and cap-and-trade in rapid succession, just in time for the summer and fundraising time. Unlike last year, Democrats won’t be able to avoid appearing in public and being surrounded by Tea Party protests, and those two agenda items will provoke them to even more fury than last year.

    The other term for “hard pivot” is “dithering.” The more Obama dithers, the less likely ObamaCare becomes.

  5. This 60 vote requirement is probably the only way to rein in an out of control administration that is transferring the wealth of the American People to all other groups. I am fine with it for that reason. It is really no problem as long as the dimocrats hold their 60 seats. They have rejected the idea of bi partisanship so why not? Let blue dog senators like Webb go back and tell the people of Virginia that he had no alternative but to bankrupt them to promote the anti American agenda of Mr. Obama. I am quite sure they will understand. And the delusional Taylor Marsh who loves Webb will applaud.

  6. I am back: Dug a hole and dug too deep.Had two agonizing days of silence here on Big Pink.Feel better now that I have stopped digging and worked out the lumps.I believe that Hillary is now in the run again.She is doing a superior job for her party,the president and the people.She is not a quitter like Palin but she is smarter than anyone in DC.Bogus Potus must not run again for the good of the country and this unsettled world.She is a true Genius in every sense of the word.

  7. HillaryforTexas
    December 23rd, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Pick a month to do a managed bank run as protest, and everyone start pulling money out. The banksters would crap their pants. Under a fractional reserve banking system, they DO NOT have enough cash on hand to handle that.

    ==================================

    Now THAT sounds like a really great idea. A different sort of Tea Party.

    The banks would hear the plans. How would they defend against it? And how could the organizers foil their defense?

  8. ABM90, I’ve been wondering about you, hoped you didnt’t come down with the Obama generated flu pandemic.

    I agree Hillary must be laughing, she along with admin knew he was nothing but a big bag of wind and wasn’t going to do a thing for us.

    I can’t believe he has put this HC thing off until Feb. OMG, I thought Ms. Pooplosi was giving us this for Christmas. I personally agree with admin, they may as well approve it on April 15th so we will know exactly what kind of bill they really gave us.

    Shoppers were finally out and things are moving here in our little town. I imagine people are waiting for the last minute deals or simply writing hot checks. It would be interesting to see how many are returned two days after Christmas.

  9. I have heard on some blogs that there is going to be a work stoppage also and that is also a great idea. Just image, no cabs, no grocery clerks, no fast food, no anything. That would get them too, right in the pocket book.

  10. I see balloon boys parents got jail time and probation for the hoax that cost taxpayer money. Well, for heavens sake, Obama is one big hoax, who is he, where did he come from, and who is pulling his strings and why. That sounds like a hoax to me, he needs jail time and probation.

  11. confloyd
    December 23rd, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    I have heard on some blogs that there is going to be a work stoppage also and that is also a great idea. Just image, no cabs, no grocery clerks, no fast food, no anything. That would get them too, right in the pocket book.
    =====================

    That would hurt innocent people too. But I do like the ‘bank run’ idea! Even if the banks counter it, it would cause them trouble and make them think twice.

  12. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. The HCR is delayed, or is that an April Fool’s joke?
    We must do something, something that pulls the purse strings, however there may be many people who do not have a lot in the bank or who have spouses that would oppose the idea; would that create a problem for the event. I had thought and discussed several times and asked what would happen if people do like the Dimocrats and the Federal Employees and just fail to pay taxes, at least on a timely basis.
    We must also voice our concerns and ask if it is consitutional to the House and Senate members when they come home for the holidays. We could be the Grinch that messed up their Merry Christmas!

  13. For the bank run, take out $X.44 !

    But the banks won’t admit it happened, so send copies of the paperwork to Greta et al.

  14. says, great idea TurnDownObama. Forty Four cents would not break anyone; use the paperwork to gain publicity for the protest; GREAT IDEA!!! I would happily participate.

  15. They are serious over at FDL. They are pulling out all the stops to kill the bill. They all agree too, that both parties are run by the banks. They also agree that the R and D are simply fascades. Here, here, I actually think people are waking up.

  16. This is from Red States. It is a Republican site I like because it does not like the Republican Party, when the Republican Party pulls the same scams as the dims. They are far superior in that sense to their ideological counterparts on the left like idiots of TPM and KOS who are mentally challenged and intellectually dishonest.
    ———————————————————————————————–
    Today the Senate of the United States voted on a constitutional point of order raised by Senators Jim DeMint and John Ensign.

    The Senators challenged the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the Democrats’ health care legislation. The individual mandate is a federally imposed requirement that every man, woman, and child in the United States obtain health insurance on pain of financial penalty or, in the Democrats’ proposal, jail.

    Put more plainly, if you chose not to have health insurance, the Congress of the United States intends to punish you by taking away your property or your life via incarceration.

    All 39 of the Republican Senators still present in Washington today voted that the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

    Let me repeat that — every Republican Senator still in Washington, D.C. today voted that it is unconstitutional to impose an individual mandate on the citizens of the United States.

    Happy?

    Well now ask yourself this: why would Bob Bennett, Lamar Alexander, Mike Crapo, Lindsey Graham, and Judd Gregg be co-sponsors of S.391, the Wyden-Bennett health care plan.

    The legislation, named for its chief sponsors Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Bob Bennett (R-UT), imposes an individual mandate on American citizens. Section 102 of the legislation is entitled “Individual Responsibility to Enroll in a Healthy Americans Private Insurance Plan.” The section outlines how the feds will punish you if you refuse to buy an insurance plan.

    In fact, that is precisely what Bennett, Alexander, Crapo, Graham, and Gregg today claimed was unconstitutional.

    Don’t be fooled by these Senators. Today they got to take a very safe vote and look good for the kids back home when in reality, were they in charge, they’d be doing the same thing. This is not leadership. This is a con.

    Category: Bob Bennett, Health care, Senate

  17. Our new Cyber Czar

    Howard A. Schmidt, a former eBay and Microsoft executive, will become the government’s cyber security coordinator, weathering a rocky selection process that dragged on for months, as others turned the job down.

    In a letter posted on the White House web site Tuesday, John Brennan, assistant to President Barack Obama for homeland security and counterterrorism, said Schmidt will have regular access to the president and play a vital role in the country’s security.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34517252/ns/politics-more_politics/

  18. DECEMBER 23, 2009

    For Their Next Trick . . .

    The latest example of violating principles of transparency and accountability in the single-minded pursuit of legislative victory.

    By JOHN FUND

    Look for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to try to circumvent the traditional conference committee process by which the different versions of health care reform passed by each house will be reconciled. If so, it will be the latest example of violating principles of transparency and accountability in the single-minded pursuit of legislative victory.

    Conferences involving members from both houses are messy things. They are usually conducted in public and often televised, and can produce a compromise version of the bill that leaves rank-and-file members tempted to vote against the final version. That could be perilous in the case of health care since it’s likely to pass without a vote to spare in the Senate and the House’s version passed by only five votes.

    North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad, chair of the Budget Committee, has already warned that if the final bill “isn’t close to the Senate bill, there will be no way to get the 60 votes here” to shut off debate and pass the final product. But many House members, led by Michigan Rep. John Conyers, are insisting on major changes in the Senate’s version.

    Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi would love to come up with a way to bash heads in private and skip any public discussion that further reveals just how incoherent and unworkable both the bills are. Luckily, there is a subterfuge readily available that wouldn’t require the House to swallow the Senate’s bill unchanged but also ducks the traditional give-and-take of the conference committee.

    When Democrats took over Congress in 2007, they increasingly did not send bills through the regular conference process. “We have to defer to the bigger picture,” explained Rep. Henry Waxman of California. So the children’s health insurance bill passed by the House that year was largely dumped in favor of the Senate’s version. House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel and other Democrats complained the House had been “cut off at the knees” but ultimately supported the bill. Legislation on lobbying reform and the 2007 energy bill were handled the same way — without appointing an actual conference.

    Rather than appoint members to a public conference committee, those measures were “ping-ponged” — i.e. changes to reconcile the two versions were transmitted by messenger between the two houses as the final product was crafted behind closed doors solely by the leadership. Many Democrats grumbled at the secrecy. “We need to get back to the point where we use conference committees . . . and have serious dialogue,” said Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama at the time.

    But serious dialogue isn’t what Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid are interested in right now. Look for the traditional conference committee to be replaced by a “ping-pong” game in which health care is finalized behind closed doors with little public scrutiny before the bill is rushed to the floor of each chamber for a final vote.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704254604574614183270356274.html

  19. Thanks, confloyd for pointing to FDL:

    Senate Bill Still Leaves Health Insurance Companies Unchecked

    Jon Walker Wednesday December 23, 2009

    The Senate bill removed the public option. The public option would have been a benchmark by which to judge the private insurance companies. It would have served as a check on the private insurance companies.

    With the public option gone, the only other check left on the for-profit private insurance industry is regulation. Can under-enforced regulations really serve as a check on a very wealthy and powerful industry? The answer is “no,” and that is the pitfall of the Senate bill.

    The Senate bill leaves enforcement of regulation up to the same state insurance commissioners that have failed us so far. The bill does not even remove the anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies.

    Some state insurance commissioners are overly friendly to the insurance industry. Even Max Baucus, who wrote the bill, admits he is “not sure” about trusting the state insurance commissioners. The few state insurance commissioners who try to take on the insurance companies are often hopelessly out-gunned. The California insurance commissioner’s office is one of the best in the country, but was forced to admit it did not have the resources needed to stand up to the biggest insurance companies.

    Is there is anyone who can honestly tell me how this bill will actually work to enforce these regulations around the entire country? Not the nice sounding bullet points, but a detailed analysis how our unreformed, broken, state-based insurance regulation enforcement mechanisms will ever be able to handle their expanded job functions. If there is, I have not seen it. Regulations un-enforced are just like no regulations at all.

    The Senate bill puts into place some very nice-sounding regulations, but does not add the super powerful policing force needed to make them a reality. The old dirty tricks we have come to hate from the private insurance companies may mostly disappear, but only because they will morph into brand new ways to game the system.

    The most critical failing of the Senate bill is that it still leaves the private insurance companies unchecked. They will not face competition from a public option, there will not be a truly robust risk adjustment mechanism to de-incentivize cherry picking, and the state insurance commissioners meant to enforce the new regulations will lack the will and/or the funding to take them on. Rules without a policeman strong enough to enforce them are just empty promises.

    The House bill, on the other hand, had three important checks on the health insurance industry.

    The fallout over President Obama’s comment that he did not campaign on the public option continued today. FDL’s slinkerwink found video evidence of the President discussing a “public plan” in 2007, ironically as part of a presentation to Planned Parenthood about reproductive care. In it, he claimed that reproductive care was basic care and that the public plan would have to include reproductive care coverage (that’s two, two, two capitulations in one).

    Alex Koppelman, as a counterpoint, did a thorough rundown of the 2008 campaign, and determined that, while the public option was always a part of Obama’s white papers and campaign literature, in public he rarely mentioned it. This is in contrast to his first year as President, when Obama went out of his way to discuss the public option on numerous, high-profile occasions.

    It’s worth highlighting those things that Obama did “campaign on,” to borrow his phrase, when it comes to health care, however, because it doesn’t exactly support the President’s other big claim, that there is no gap between what he campaigned on and what is about to pass the US Senate.

    There was no bigger speech on health care during the campaign than the one Obama gave on October 4, 2008, in Newport News, Virginia. He laid out all his objections to John McCain’s plan and all of the details of his plan, to the extent that you can do so in a 35-minute speech. I think it’s fair to say that he “campaigned on” everything in this speech. And here are just some of the highlights.

    • He starts out by explaining the need to address health care immediately, and lays out all the problems with the current system. He then launches into an attack on John McCain, leading at around 8:10 by saying that McCain would fund his plan in part “by taxing your health care benefits for the first time in history.” That’s a blunt way of putting it, but he’s essentially criticizing McCain for his plan to eliminate the employer deduction on health care, which the Senate health care bill essentially does through the excise tax on high-end insurance plans. McCain wanted to eliminate the deduction completely, while the excise tax has a high threshold. But we’re talking about the same basic policy, one which Obama says at 10:15 would lead to employers dumping health care coverage altogether.

    • At 16:45, Obama says that “I don’t think we should settle for health care that works better for drug and insurance companies than it does for hard working Americans. I don’t think that’s the change we need. We can do better than that.” It’s going to be hard to argue that the new health care system post-reform doesn’t work better for drug and insurance companies. You can argue whether or not that matters in the wake of covering 31 million new people, but clearly it’s going to work out fine for them.

    • Obama constantly talks in this speech about taking on drug and insurance companies “for the prices they charge and the harm that they cause.” He blows through the public option by saying quickly that he would “increase competition in the insurance industry.”

    • At 23:40, Obama says that, as a pillar of his plan to reduce premiums by $2,500 per family (none of the plans in the House and Senate would do that for the overwhelming majority of the population), he’s going to go to the drug companies and “say thanks but no thanks for overpriced drugs, drugs that cost twice as much here as they do in Europe and Canada and Mexico. We’ll let Medicare negotiate for lower drug prices. We’ll stop drug companies from blocking generic drugs that are just as effective and less expensive. We’ll allow the safe importation of lower-priced drugs from countries like Canada.” Now, absolutely none of this came to pass. There’s no Medicare price negotiation, the Administration actively worked against reimportation, and generics to follow-on biologics are still blocked from the market.

    Now, this is just an example of the kinds of things Obama was saying in his most important health care speech from the general election campaign. Earlier, in the primaries, he railed against the individual mandate on multiple occasions; it became one of the biggest philosophical differences between him and Hillary Clinton. Ryan Grim has another example:

    Obama also pledged to go after the anti-trust exemptions that drug makers and insurers enjoy: “When I’m President,” he said in Iowa in early 2007, “we’re going to make drug and insurance companies compete for their customers just like every other business in America. We’ll investigate and prosecute the monopolization of the insurance industry.”

    The antitrust exemption is not revoked in the current Senate bill.

    It’s insulting to the intelligence of people who have followed this Presidency closely to say there’s “no gap” between the policies espoused on the campaign trail and the finished product. That’s not necessarily a problem – things change, compromises are made – but there’s a serious credibility problem in saying that there’s “no gap” publicly. It’s why liberals are attacking the President for abandoning the principles of his own agenda.

    The President has every right to say the public option is not the most important part of the health care bill. He doesn’t have the right to act like an innocent bystander and say he never supported it – and the same goes for the long list of policies he touted on the campaign trail which aren’t reflected in the finished product.

    http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2009/12/23/senate-bill-still-leaves-health-insurance-companies-unchecked/

  20. If this comment has been posted before please delete:

    Senate Bill Still Leaves Health Insurance Companies Unchecked

    Jon Walker Wednesday December 23, 2009

    The Senate bill removed the public option. The public option would have been a benchmark by which to judge the private insurance companies. It would have served as a check on the private insurance companies.

    With the public option gone, the only other check left on the for-profit private insurance industry is regulation. Can under-enforced regulations really serve as a check on a very wealthy and powerful industry? The answer is “no,” and that is the pitfall of the Senate bill.

    The Senate bill leaves enforcement of regulation up to the same state insurance commissioners that have failed us so far. The bill does not even remove the anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies.

    Some state insurance commissioners are overly friendly to the insurance industry. Even Max Baucus, who wrote the bill, admits he is “not sure” about trusting the state insurance commissioners. The few state insurance commissioners who try to take on the insurance companies are often hopelessly out-gunned. The California insurance commissioner’s office is one of the best in the country, but was forced to admit it did not have the resources needed to stand up to the biggest insurance companies.

    Is there is anyone who can honestly tell me how this bill will actually work to enforce these regulations around the entire country? Not the nice sounding bullet points, but a detailed analysis how our unreformed, broken, state-based insurance regulation enforcement mechanisms will ever be able to handle their expanded job functions. If there is, I have not seen it. Regulations un-enforced are just like no regulations at all.

    The Senate bill puts into place some very nice-sounding regulations, but does not add the super powerful policing force needed to make them a reality. The old dirty tricks we have come to hate from the private insurance companies may mostly disappear, but only because they will morph into brand new ways to game the system.

    The most critical failing of the Senate bill is that it still leaves the private insurance companies unchecked. They will not face competition from a public option, there will not be a truly robust risk adjustment mechanism to de-incentivize cherry picking, and the state insurance commissioners meant to enforce the new regulations will lack the will and/or the funding to take them on. Rules without a policeman strong enough to enforce them are just empty promises.

    The House bill, on the other hand, had three important checks on the health insurance industry.

    The fallout over President Obama’s comment that he did not campaign on the public option continued today. FDL’s slinkerwink found video evidence of the President discussing a “public plan” in 2007, ironically as part of a presentation to Planned Parenthood about reproductive care. In it, he claimed that reproductive care was basic care and that the public plan would have to include reproductive care coverage (that’s two, two, two capitulations in one).

    Alex Koppelman, as a counterpoint, did a thorough rundown of the 2008 campaign, and determined that, while the public option was always a part of Obama’s white papers and campaign literature, in public he rarely mentioned it. This is in contrast to his first year as President, when Obama went out of his way to discuss the public option on numerous, high-profile occasions.

    It’s worth highlighting those things that Obama did “campaign on,” to borrow his phrase, when it comes to health care, however, because it doesn’t exactly support the President’s other big claim, that there is no gap between what he campaigned on and what is about to pass the US Senate.

    There was no bigger speech on health care during the campaign than the one Obama gave on October 4, 2008, in Newport News, Virginia. He laid out all his objections to John McCain’s plan and all of the details of his plan, to the extent that you can do so in a 35-minute speech. I think it’s fair to say that he “campaigned on” everything in this speech. And here are just some of the highlights.

    • He starts out by explaining the need to address health care immediately, and lays out all the problems with the current system. He then launches into an attack on John McCain, leading at around 8:10 by saying that McCain would fund his plan in part “by taxing your health care benefits for the first time in history.” That’s a blunt way of putting it, but he’s essentially criticizing McCain for his plan to eliminate the employer deduction on health care, which the Senate health care bill essentially does through the excise tax on high-end insurance plans. McCain wanted to eliminate the deduction completely, while the excise tax has a high threshold. But we’re talking about the same basic policy, one which Obama says at 10:15 would lead to employers dumping health care coverage altogether.

    • At 16:45, Obama says that “I don’t think we should settle for health care that works better for drug and insurance companies than it does for hard working Americans. I don’t think that’s the change we need. We can do better than that.” It’s going to be hard to argue that the new health care system post-reform doesn’t work better for drug and insurance companies. You can argue whether or not that matters in the wake of covering 31 million new people, but clearly it’s going to work out fine for them.

    • Obama constantly talks in this speech about taking on drug and insurance companies “for the prices they charge and the harm that they cause.” He blows through the public option by saying quickly that he would “increase competition in the insurance industry.”

    • At 23:40, Obama says that, as a pillar of his plan to reduce premiums by $2,500 per family (none of the plans in the House and Senate would do that for the overwhelming majority of the population), he’s going to go to the drug companies and “say thanks but no thanks for overpriced drugs, drugs that cost twice as much here as they do in Europe and Canada and Mexico. We’ll let Medicare negotiate for lower drug prices. We’ll stop drug companies from blocking generic drugs that are just as effective and less expensive. We’ll allow the safe importation of lower-priced drugs from countries like Canada.” Now, absolutely none of this came to pass. There’s no Medicare price negotiation, the Administration actively worked against reimportation, and generics to follow-on biologics are still blocked from the market.

    Now, this is just an example of the kinds of things Obama was saying in his most important health care speech from the general election campaign. Earlier, in the primaries, he railed against the individual mandate on multiple occasions; it became one of the biggest philosophical differences between him and Hillary Clinton. Ryan Grim has another example:

    Obama also pledged to go after the anti-trust exemptions that drug makers and insurers enjoy: “When I’m President,” he said in Iowa in early 2007, “we’re going to make drug and insurance companies compete for their customers just like every other business in America. We’ll investigate and prosecute the monopolization of the insurance industry.”

    The antitrust exemption is not revoked in the current Senate bill.

    It’s insulting to the intelligence of people who have followed this Presidency closely to say there’s “no gap” between the policies espoused on the campaign trail and the finished product. That’s not necessarily a problem – things change, compromises are made – but there’s a serious credibility problem in saying that there’s “no gap” publicly. It’s why liberals are attacking the President for abandoning the principles of his own agenda.

    The President has every right to say the public option is not the most important part of the health care bill. He doesn’t have the right to act like an innocent bystander and say he never supported it – and the same goes for the long list of policies he touted on the campaign trail which aren’t reflected in the finished product.

  21. Admin, thanks for posting the videos. I posted the FDL article and it evaporated into thin air after I clicked the submit button.

    Do you think Dr Spam is busy examining the article in the filter?

  22. By God, that video is the most damning of Obama health care promises based on his statements made in the general election and the HCR Bill he approved this week scheduled to be passed before Christmas.

  23. Something I posted at No Quarter:

    _______________________________

    Well said Pat.

    And the other half of it is watching them try to cover their tracks–and get caught doing it.

    Neither party is immune from that sort of thing. The unabashedly conservative–and highly principled blog Red State blog objects to this deceptive practice regardless of who does it. (Their left wing counterparts TPM, Kos etc. lack such candor and are intellectually dishonest)

    Red State points out that some of the republicans who cast on the individual mandate today, calling it unconstitutional, were among its co sponsors initially. The names may surprise you.

    But the coup de gras was out friend Senator Nelson of Nebraska who gets caught in flagrante delicto, yet again. (Note: hey Ben what they said in Watergate must surely be true in Nebraska: the cover-up is worse than the crime.)

    ___________________________________________–

    The Senate of the United States just voted to table Jim DeMint’s proposed amendment that would prevent cash for cloture compromises.

    As you will recall, Ben Nelson was bribed by Harry Reid to vote for the health care bill via targeted earmarks that will only benefit Nebraska.

    DeMint asked for the Senate to suspend its rules to consider his amendment, which would prohibit such deals in the future.

    Ben Nelson voted against Jim DeMint’s amendment, but when he realized the Democrats already had the votes to kill it, he raced back up to the clerk and changed his vote so the final record shows Nelson sided with DeMint.

    Unfortunately for Ben Nelson, I have obtained the actual factual roll call sheet.

    You can see it in PDF here.

    Go to page two and find Nelson’s name. See the swiggly line through the mark on the left side? That’s the clerk noting that he switched his vote once the other Democrats defeated DeMint’s amendment.

    What. A. Tool.

  24. Tarpley elucidates why Obama was the choice of the elites rather than Hillary-

    Hint: our Hillary can’t be bought or controlled by Special Interests.

    Hillary was and always will be a candidate of the People.

    Admin- sorry you are working overtime on posting these gems. Thanks in advance 🙂

  25. Mrs. Smith, I have two reactions:

    1. first, I have reached many of the same conclusions as he did through independent research.

    2. second, large segments of the American Population are clueless and manipulable.

  26. I caught some of Fox news this afternoon with Charles Kruthammer and Juan Williams. Kruthammer was saying that health care bill will lead to major losses for the Dems in November. Another commentator agreed with him. Williams thinks the polls right now are just public reaction to the negative news being brought forth by conservatives, but when people see the good parts of the bill that opinion will shift. I was waiting for one of the others to ask him how the publics opinion would react when the negative aspects of the bill also became more known but they ran out of time.

    I used to like Williams, but it’s sad how he’s become just another rah rah commentator for the O administration. I can’t believe he actually believes the stuff that he says, particularly when there is ample evidence to the contrary…

  27. 2. second, large segments of the American Population are clueless and manipulable.

    ——————-

    And how sad is it that this statement can be said of so many countries including my own.

  28. The omniscient and infallible (except when he is wrong) charlie cook sees R+4 to R+6 seats picked up in the Senate. That will restore the right of filibusterer even if the two idiots from Maine both defect to the enemy on critical votes in 2010. Lawsuits will need to be launched against Obama as well. The situation in the country will be different and worse a year from now with this idiot at occupying the White House,

    Interestingly, the dimocratic party has become extreme left, anti white, anti middle class, anti elderly and anti women. It is a growing cancer that threatens the survival of the nation, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Meanwhile the Republicans are the most incompetent group of people you will find. Their little deceptions on the Individual Mandate tell you all you need to know about them. If you like seeing your country destroyed this is a great reason to celebrate.

    If there was ever a time we needed a credible third party, that time is now. A blue dog dimocrat is an oxymoron.

  29. Mrs. Smith, THat was a great video of Webster Tarpley. Well, I guess we should all try and enjoy this Christmas as the next one may really be bad.

  30. We have tornado warnings tonight and bad weather, its hard to type with a Pit Bull dog in your lap. LOL!! She’s afraid of thunder.

  31. wbboei, I agree its anti-women, they are court-martialing female soldiers if they get pregnant while overseas. They are also court martialing the men that get them that way too.

    I think its ridiculous, because these kids are away from home and lonely, things like this are bound to happen, why should they be penalized for that.

  32. Slipped this in the back door………………..Obama has signed away American protection on American soil, that alone should have him removed. Read the whole thing at link.

    Last Thursday, December 17, 2009, The White House released an Executive Order “Amending Executive Order 12425.” It grants INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) a new level of full diplomatic immunity afforded to foreign embassies and select other “International Organizations” as set forth in the United States International Organizations Immunities Act of 1945.

    http://threatswatch.org/analysis/2009/12/wither-sovereignty/

  33. Question: what do you call a dishonest monkey with a bad toupee?

    Answer: Senator Ben Nelson–the embarrassment from Nebraska

    ——————————————————
    Votes For Sale in the Senate
    By Michael Gerson

    WASHINGTON — Sometimes there is a fine ethical line between legislative maneuvering and bribery. At other times, that line is crossed by a speeding, honking tractor-trailer, with outlines of shapely women on mud flaps bouncing as it rumbles past.

    Such was the case in the final hours of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s successful attempt to get cloture on health care reform. Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, the last Democratic holdout, was offered and accepted a permanent exemption from his state’s share of Medicaid expansion, amounting to $100 million over 10 years.

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    Michael Gerson RealClearPolitics
    Ben Nelson Health care

    Afterward, Reid was unapologetic. “You’ll find,” he said, “a number of states that are treated differently than other states. That’s what legislating is all about.”

    But legislating, presumably, is also about giving public reasons for the expenditure of public funds. Are Cornhuskers particularly sickly and fragile? Is there a malaria outbreak in Grand Island? Ebola detected in Lincoln?

    Reid didn’t even attempt to offer a reason why Medicaid in Nebraska should be treated differently from, say, Medicaid across the Missouri River in Iowa. The majority leader bought a vote with someone else’s money. Does this conclusion sound harsh? Listen to Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who accused the Senate leadership and the administration of “backroom deals that amount to bribes,” and “seedy Chicago politics” that “personifies the worst of Washington.”

    This special deal for Nebraska raises an immediate question: Why doesn’t every Democratic senator demand the same treatment for their state? Eventually, they will. After the Nelson deal was announced, Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa enthused, “When you look at it, I thought well, God, good, it is going to be the impetus for all the states to stay at 100 percent (coverage by the federal government). So he might have done all of us a favor.” In a single concession, Reid undermined the theory of Medicaid — designed as a shared burden between states and the federal government — and added to future federal deficits.

    Unless this little sweetener is stripped from the final bill by a House-Senate conference committee in January, leaving Nelson with a choice. He could enrage his party by blocking health reform for the sake of $100 million — making the narrowness of his interests clear to everyone. Or he could give in — looking not only venal but foolish.

    How did Nelson gain such leverage in the legislative process in the first place? Because many assumed that his objections to abortion coverage in the health bill were serious — not a cover, but a conviction. Nelson, a rare pro-life Democrat, insisted in an interview he would not be a “cheap date.” Republican leadership staffers in the Senate thought he might insist on language in the health care bill preventing public funds from going to insurance plans that cover abortion on demand, as Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak had done in the House.

    Instead, Nelson caved. The “compromise” he accepted allows states to prohibit the coverage of elective abortions in their own insurance exchanges. Which means that Nebraska taxpayers may not be forced to subsidize insurance plans that cover abortions in Nebraska. But they will certainly be required to subsidize such plans in California, New York and many other states.

    In the end, Nelson not only surrendered his own beliefs, he betrayed the principle of the Hyde Amendment, which since 1976 has prevented the coverage of elective abortion in federally funded insurance. Nelson not only violated his own pro-life convictions, he may force millions of Americans to violate theirs as well.

    I can respect those who are pro-life out of conviction, and those who are pro-choice out of conviction. It is more difficult to respect politicians willing to use their deepest beliefs — and the deepest beliefs of others — as bargaining chips.

    In a single evening, Nelson managed to undermine the logic of Medicaid, abandon three decades of protections under the Hyde Amendment and increase the public stock of cynicism. For what? For the sake of legislation that greatly expands a health entitlement without reforming the health system; that siphons hundreds of billions of dollars out of Medicare, instead of using that money to reform Medicare itself; that imposes seven taxes on Americans making less than $250,000 a year, in direct violation of a presidential pledge; that employs Enron-style accounting methods to inflate future cost savings; that pretends to tame the insurance companies while making insurance companies the largest beneficiaries of reform.

    And, yes, for $100 million. It is the cheap date equivalent of Taco Bell

  34. Slipped this in the back door………………..Obama has signed away American protection on American soil, that alone should have him removed. Read the whole thing at link.

    Last Thursday, December 17, 2009, The White House released an Executive Order “Amending Executive Order 12425.” It grants INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) a new level of full diplomatic immunity afforded to foreign embassies and select other “International Organizations” as set forth in the United States International Organizations Immunities Act of 1945.
    ———————————–
    Moon: what do you think this means? Does it mean that Interpol can snatch US citizens whom it suspects of crimes without a warrant? Does it mean Interpol can hold them in communicado without regard to the US Constitution? Does it mean that it can do so for political reasons? Does it meant the right of habeaus corpus does not apply to such detensions? Does it mean that US Citizens will be subject to the jurisdiction of other countries, or the world court. Since Obama is a proven pathological liar you cannot rely on his answers to these questions. Judicial Watch should be notified of this. This should be made a political issue.

  35. The following is from Judicial Watch, which is a Republican organization so bear that in mind. However do note that they are accusing Obama’s wife of action which is probably illegal and surely beyond the scope of her legitimate duties as First Lady. If it is true then she is corrupt.
    ——————————————–
    Obama Blocks Probe Of Fired IG

    View Discussion
    Last Updated: Wed, 12/23/2009 – 3:55pm
    Violating its own guarantee of unprecedented transparency, the White House is blocking an investigation into the controversial firing of an inspector general who exposed one of President Obama’s political supporters—a California mayor—for misusing federal funds.

    First Lady Michelle Obama was reportedly behind the contentious June dismissal of AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin and congressional investigators want to interview the aide (Jackie Norris) who may have given the order. At the time Norris was the First Lady’s chief of staff but the White House counsel’s office has blocked investigators from interviewing her, according to a national news report.

    Norris is currently a senior advisor at the organization that oversees AmeriCorps, the country’s national services program which annually receives millions of federal dollars to conquer everything from illiteracy to affordable housing and the environment. During his tenure as inspector general, Walpin exposed a multi million-dollar fraud scheme in AmeriCorps’ most expensive program, a teaching fellow project at the City University of New York, and he busted a Sacramento charity, operated by a powerful Obama ally who happens to be the city’s mayor, for misusing nearly $1 million in federal grants.

    The mayor (Obama pal Kevin Johnson) illegally used the money to pay volunteers for political activities, run personal errands and even wash his car. Johnson, a former professional basketball player, acknowledged that there “may have been administrative errors” and reached a settlement with federal prosecutors to repay about half of the money. This certainly indicates that Walpin did his job of rooting out government fraud, waste and abuse quite efficiently.

    It also explains why Obama has yet to come up with a valid reason—other than retaliation for busting his corrupt friend—to fire Walpin. The president violated a law that safeguards the independence of government agency watchdogs and the Democratic senator (Missouri’s Claire McCaskill) who authored the measure blasted the commander-in-chief for removing an inspector general who exposed widespread waste in taxpayer-financed community service groups.

    Obama “failed to follow the proper procedure” in notifying Congress about the removal and for failing to give a valid reason for the termination, according to McCaskill. Obama first said that he lost confidence in Walpin and later amended the story by claiming that that the otherwise efficient watchdog was “confused” and “disoriented” at a meeting.

  36. wbboei – all of the above, it means that Interpol can operate with impunity with what they do on US soil, they can arrest anyone with a European warrant against them. technically they could arrest Bush now if they wanted and any other US citizen who is accused of any crime in europe and take them from American soil, this is the first step in sigining for the ICC also.

    Basically he signed away our sovereignty again. He should be impeached immediately for treason.

  37. In my eyes, wbboei, this IG thing could bring the whole house down, it has the potential of being a major explosive story now his numbers are falling, and you know when poll numbers fall, open season begins because the collective protection from party members drifts away.

  38. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1209/30925.html

    The White House privately anticipates health care talks to slip into February — past President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address — and then plans to make a “very hard pivot” to a new jobs bill, according to senior administration officials.

    Obama has been told that disputes over abortion and the tight schedule are highly likely to delay a final deal, a blow to the president, who had hoped to trumpet a health care victory in his big speech to the nation. But he has also been told that House Democratic leaders seem inclined, at least for now, to largely accept the compromise worked out in the Senate, virtually ensuring he will eventually get a deal.

    Internally, White House aides are plunging into a 2010 plan calling for an early focus on creating jobs, especially in the energy sector, along with starting a conversation about deficit reduction measures, the administration officials said.

    Both will be major themes for his first State of the Union speech, which will most likely take place on Jan. 26 or Feb. 2. White House aides are in the early stages of planning for the national address, but Obama will not only trumpet what he has described as his “B-plus” performance in 2009 but also set the stage for the 2010 congressional campaigns.

    Obama and Democrats seem in agreement that they want to minimize the number of tough votes moderates in their party must take in the aftermath of the health care debate. They also seem in agreement that a jobs bill is a must — and that they need to show a serious commitment to reducing the deficit, a very difficult task after racking up record spending in Obama’s first year.

    The first order of business will be getting a health care deal, which Obama and Democrats see as inevitable. The White House is working closely with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leading liberals to make sure the House does not push for significant changes to the compromise worked out in the Senate. This will force House Democrats, who often feel slighted by all the attention and influence the Senate gets, to swallow a compromise it did not write or advocate.

  39. Well, politics as usual. I hate the dims and Boxer and Miller have lost my votes. Feinstein has a few more years before she is up for re-election; maybe she will retire. Imagine, the dims passed this shit sandwich. Bite me.

  40. I’m taking a few days off during the most wonderful time of the year – except for 2009 when the Dems desecrated a Republic and a holy birthday. Do the best you can. Thanks for all you are.

  41. Merry Christmas to all and everyone. I’ll pop in over the festive period to check up what the sneaky bastards try and slip out over Christmas under the radar, be on your guard.

  42. A little cheer among the doom and gloom…

    Clinton ‘thrilled’ Brazil boy reunited with US dad
    (AFP) – 1 hour ago

    WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she is “thrilled” that a US father and his young son have been reunited after a five-year custody battle involving Brazil, and sent them warm wishes for the holidays.

    “I am thrilled that nine-year-old Sean Goldman was reunited with his father David Goldman earlier today in Rio de Janeiro and that they are flying home to New Jersey,” Clinton said in a statement.

    She thanked “a number of members of Congress and many concerned parties both here and in Brazil” for helping bringing the long standoff to a successful end.

    “We also appreciate the assistance and cooperation of the government of Brazil in upholding its obligations under the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction,” she said.

    “I offer my warmest wishes for father and son as they celebrate their first holiday season together in five years,” Clinton added.

    Brazilian television earlier showed the Goldmans leaving Brazil Thursday on a chartered private jet for the United States.

    The two were reunited just three hours earlier in the US consulate in Rio de Janeiro, in line with a Brazilian supreme court ruling awarding custody to the father, David Goldman.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iFU8VJx4oR-iCOc44R9OOSkNnuVA

  43. Can somebody tell me what the point is of disarmament talks???

    Russia planning new nuclear arms

    Russia will continue developing new nuclear missiles and launchers despite disarmament talks with the US, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev says. “Of course, we will develop new systems, including delivery platforms, or missiles. This is routine practice, the entire world is doing it,” he said.

    Speaking in a live TV interview, Mr Medvedev said this would not bypass agreements with the US.

    Russia says it successfully tested a long-range SS-18 missile on Thursday. The missile – called an RS-20 Voyevoda in Russia – was fired from Orenburg in central Russia and hit targets in Kamchatka, in the far east, the Ria Novosti news agency reported.

    New treaty plan

    So far Russia and the US have failed to find a successor to the Cold War-era Start 1 treaty. That treaty, which led to deep cuts in nuclear arsenals on both sides, expired on 5 December. Asked why there had been a delay, Mr Medvedev said “this is a difficult question, a very difficult one”.

    “This is a treaty which determines the parameters for developing and reducing the strategic arms potential of two of the biggest nuclear states. We are moving very quickly as it is. We have agreed on almost everything.”

    Both sides have agreed to continue observing Start 1 – which was signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush Senior in the final days of the Soviet Union – until they reach a new agreement. Under a joint understanding signed in July, deployed nuclear warheads should be cut to below 1,700 on each side within seven years of a new treaty – a huge cut on Soviet-era levels.

    Nonetheless, between them the two countries will retain enough firepower to destroy the world several times over.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8429913.stm

  44. Admin> if I take my partisan hat off for just a second, and look at the strategy outlined above then my sense of it is it is too little too late, the man is not credible and the elements are contradictory. First, this bill is toxic, and I would venture to guess that no single individual knows everything that is in it. Second, the inability to conclude the matter by year end pushes that issue into the election year where it will remain salient, and toxic elements of it will be passed under the publics nose every week, as well as the way it was partisan way it was enacted. Third, the focus on jobs his one year late, the situation will get worse, and whatever jobs program he comes up with will be tilted to minorities and will not solve the problem of a declining middle class. Fourth, the push for cap and trade will be exposed as a self serving fraud and get rich quick schelme in the same manner as global warming was, and the adverse impact on small business will be emphasized. Fifth, their desperate push for amnesty will lead to overreaching and it is absolutely, positively toxic in a depression. They will want bi partisan cover and will be inclined to whittle it down, while whispering to the little thug from chicago who is pushing it, if we can get the camel’s nose under the tent now we will flood the country with illegals later. We need some issue with which to destroy the power of big media. In sum, their relection stategy is neither credible nor coherent. It is not simply a matter of Obama lacking coattails. He is like Bush in the sense that vulnerable members will not want him around to remind voters of how they sold out their interests to a thug from Chicago who they now know is not who he claims to be. Meanwhile, the power and influence of big media will continue to wane in swing segments of the electorate. It is too late for them now.

  45. Thanks Jan-

    Tarpley is a walking encyclopedia on Foreign and World Affairs besides World Finance. He despises Obama as the ruination of America.

    I will be back later as well. Christmas lunch festivities with friends.

  46. Can somebody tell me what the point is of disarmament talks???
    ___________________________________________________________

    This is why Nat Hentoff calls him dangerous.

    In any negotiation, each side has certain goals it wishes to achieve.

    With Obama, the goal was to get any agreement and a headline his handlers could spin. In other words, it was nothing more than public relations. And for that he was willing to sell out his country–ala Rezko.

    With Obama, the goal was to compromise American military capabilities, by trading reductions on the American side for phantom reductions of aging weapons systems on the Russian side. In addition, they wanted to get us to abandon our commitment to Poland to build a missile shield which they succeeded in doing, and thereby reduce our influence.

  47. Moon: I will alert Judicial Watch. They have been our adversaries in the past. Possibly in this instance they can be helpful.

  48. As Tarpley notes, Obama is nothing more than a puppet. He is devoid of substance and cannot even keep his lies straight. And big media is controlled by the same people who control Obama, therefore they are not worth listening to. The American people are being railroaded. But then an interesting thing happened on the way to the slaughterhouse. The forces of Obamination who sought to energize their base and demoralize conservatives and independents who oppose his destructive poliicies have managed to do the very opposite. He has demoralized his base and energized opponents. In an election year that has serious adverse ramifications. Also, the blue dog position which involves having it both ways has lost whatever credibility and legitimacy it once had. I was reading a conservative blog who was condemning Webb for his socialism and his novels depicting child molestation. I still like Jim personally, but I would never again support him–or get my friends to do so. He has surprised me a great deal. I am not at all keen on the Republicans, but they have become a case of any port in a storm.

    Merry Christmas. Here is hoping next year we see a tsunami which sweeeps key dims like Reid and Dodd out of office. Let us hope that our efforts to stop this runaway freight train will be successful. Let us hope Hillary becomes President in 2012 so we can restore legitimate leadership, and drive the Chicago thugs who are stealing the future out of our capital with pitchforks. They are parasites, and destroyers of worlds. We will fail as a nation as long as they are in charge.

  49. Fannie, Freddie chiefs to get Wall Street-style compensation packages

    By Zachary A. Goldfarb
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    The government announced Thursday that it had approved Wall Street-style, multi-million-dollar compensation packages for top executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two mortgage companies that have become little more than arms of the federal government.

    The two top executives at the companies, which have received $121 billion in federal aid since they were seized last year, could be paid up to $6 million each for their services this year. In total, the top 12 executives at the two firms are in line to receive up to $42 million in 2009 alone.

    While the packages are above what was paid in 2008, the government regulator that approved them said they represent much less than what the companies historically paid their top executives. The compensation for top employees includes salary and incentive payments, which are contingent on the executives staying with their firms and meeting business targets. The announcement on the day before Christmas came after recent disclosures about outsize pay packages at banks bailed out by the federal government.

    All year long, lavish compensation packages at financial firms bailed out by taxpayers have stirred anger as the performance of Wall Streets has increasingly outstripped that of other businesses across the country. But while many banks have returned taxpayer money to the government and resumed their traditional role as private businesses, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have largely become wards of the state.

    They have each received more in direct taxpayer aid than any other firm, except for American International Group, and have no plans to repay the money. They remain controlled by the federal government and have been putting public policy goals such as reworking unaffordable mortgages ahead of making profits. And the government is now considering increasing the amount of aid available to them, which currently stands at $280 billion.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/24/AR2009122401588.html?hpid=topnews

  50. Editorial Director’s Note:
    Taipan Daily: Why I Don’t Care About Fixing the World (And Neither
    Should You)
    by Justice Litle, Editorial Director, Taipan Publishing Group
    If you’ll forgive the indulgence, today I’d like to respond to an interesting – and personal – reader inquiry. The question may not have been intended as personal, but it wound up inspiring a fair bit of reflection. Here it is:

    Mr. Litle,

    I find your opinions on the world and U.S. economies very fascinating, to say the least. What I will like to read more of, if you can, is your opinions on some potential solution to these problems, or are you just good at highlighting problem but no solutions?

    Thanks for your time in advance.

    – TD Reader “Chuck”

    Thanks, Chuck! (I think…)

    If you want all the solutions you can stomach, here’s what I suggest. First, subscribe to Forbes and The Economist (two highly respected financial rags). Then make sure to catch Steve Forbes’ opening column in each issue of Forbes, and furthermore scan the final paragraphs in the lead article section of The Economist each week.

    It’s a tongue-in-cheek suggestion (as you might have guessed). But you really will find a smorgasbord of “solutions” that way. Steve Forbes seems to have a forcefully simplistic opinion on how to fix every single economic problem on the planet. In similar vein, The Economist never tires of ending pieces with a schoolmarmish finger wag that always boils down to, “It would simply be best if world leaders did X.”

    I subscribe to both of those venerable publications (plus at least a dozen others, if not more), and I take in absurd quantities of market-related information every single day. The challenge of this process requires me to read at different speeds, ranging from “leisurely” to “lightning bolt.” When it comes to the hand-waving solutions, I zip right past ‘em as if they weren’t even there. (When I come across a Thomas Friedman column, it’s like a blank page.)

    The reason why is because most “solutions” of the forcefully delivered type fall into what I call the perfect world trap. The trap applies if whatever solution being offered deserves a “perfect world” qualifier. For example, “in a perfect world, Americans would have a more rational attitude towards healthcare.” Or, “in a perfect world, politicians would have a long-term rather than short-term focus.” And so on.

    Many answers to the world’s problems are obvious in terms of what “should” be done. The more interesting question, in my view, is why what “should” be done in a perfect world so rarely plays out in the real one. Power corrupts. Self interest corrodes. Human nature throws a monkey wrench into the works yet again. And so it goes…

    As a result of the many slips twixt cup and lip, the gap between clean theory and messy reality is more often than not Grand-Canyon sized. And thus I find myself with zero patience for goobers like Steve Forbes who, in their constant righteous claims of what “should” be done, act as if such a gap does not exist.

    I wasn’t always so “anti-solution.” There was a time when I, too, thought fixing the world was merely a matter of getting the right multi-step instruction guide into the right hands. Over time, though, I soaked up more of the zen-like wisdom embedded in the old saying, “The wise man thinks what is easy is hard.”

    Pragmatism and Profit

    So why talk about this stuff then? Why bring up the world’s troubles in these pages, and dissect them as we do, if sweeping solutions are not the main point of interest?

    And so, when something of import happens or some new political development bursts on the scene, the natural approach for yours truly is not, “Hmm… how can I find the ideal solution to this issue so that I can share it with the world in hopes that they will listen?”

    Instead, my internal response runs more along the lines of, “Okay, what kind of curveball are these goofballs going to throw at us next… and how can we hit it out of the park?”

    Or, more simply put, “How might this development impact markets, in either the short run or the long run (or both)? How can we profit from this (or just as importantly, avoid loss)?”

    You see, pragmatically speaking, you and I can’t do a thing about the decisions being made in Washington, Brussels or Beijing. (They’re not listening to muckety-mucks like Steve Forbes or The Economist, so why in the world would they listen to us?)

    Nor can we repeal human nature, or cure short-sightedness, or otherwise turn water into wine. But what we can do is accept the world as it is… interpret reality as it stands… and seek to create prosperity for ourselves from the swirling nexus of forces that drives current events.

    One of the ironies in all this, I believe, is that the righteous souls hell-bent on saving the world often find themselves neglecting their own little corner of it. So much time and energy is spent banging on about impossibly idealistic solutions that real steps in the direction of real goals and dreams are left untaken.

    That’s the general trouble, as I see it, with the popular focus on “making a difference.” All too often, the key question “Making a difference to whom?” is never properly considered.

    Why the World Wags and What Wags It

    So in that respect, too, Taipan Daily is less focused on packaged solutions because there’s only so much time and energy to spare. Telling the world what should be done leaves less room for understanding the world as it is… and figuring out what might happen next… and learning how to profit from it.

    I’ll leave you with one of my all-time favorite quotes, from T.H. White in The Once and Future King. Merlyn said it better than I ever could:

    “The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlyn, “…is to learn to something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then – to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.”

    Warm Regards,

  51. Even Chicago Machine Dimocrats see the danger the Obama party is headed towards:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/23/AR2009122302439_pf.html

    The announcement by Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith that he is switching to the Republican Party is just the latest warning sign that the Democratic Party — my lifelong political home — has a critical decision to make: Either we plot a more moderate, centrist course or risk electoral disaster not just in the upcoming midterms but in many elections to come.

    Rep. Griffith’s decision makes him the fifth centrist Democrat to either switch parties or announce plans to retire rather than stand for reelection in 2010. [snip]

    On the one hand, centrist Democrats are being vilified by left-wing bloggers, pundits and partisan news outlets for not being sufficiently liberal, “true” Democrats. On the other, Republicans are pounding them for their association with a party that seems to be advancing an agenda far to the left of most voters.

    The political dangers of this situation could not be clearer.

    Witness the losses in New Jersey and Virginia in this year’s off-year elections. In those gubernatorial contests, the margin of victory was provided to Republicans by independents — many of whom had voted for Obama. Just one year later, they had crossed back to the Republicans by 2-to-1 margins.

    Witness the drumbeat of ominous poll results. Obama’s approval rating has fallen below 49 percent overall and is even lower — 41 percent — among independents. On the question of which party is best suited to manage the economy, there has been a 30-point swing toward Republicans since November 2008, according to Ipsos. Gallup’s generic congressional ballot shows Republicans leading Democrats. There is not a hint of silver lining in these numbers. They are the quantitative expression of the swing bloc of American politics slipping away.

    And, of course, witness the loss of Rep. Griffith and his fellow moderate Democrats who will retire. They are perhaps the truest canaries in the coal mine. [snip]

    The party’s moment of choosing is drawing close. While it may be too late to avoid some losses in 2010, it is not too late to avoid the kind of rout that redraws the political map. The leaders of the Democratic Party need to move back toward the center — and in doing so, set the stage for the many years’ worth of leadership necessary to produce the sort of pragmatic change the American people actually want.

  52. Admin, I appauld what Parther Griffith, and wish other Dimocrats with a conscience would follow suit.

    Alabama is my native state and where my great-grandchildren live. I see our country and constitution disappearing before my very eyes; and I worry about these little ones. WE have allowed their freedoms and choices to be bought and are leaving them with no jobs and no way to pay off these mindbending deficits they are left to inherit from US.
    Parker Griffith replaces Bud Cramer whom I really did not like. Griffith’s office back home is in the college where my daughter teaches and where I worked adjunct for several years. While at first glance, Griffith may seem like a turncoat, and no doubt he did change parties, it has been stated that he could not conscience what the Dimcrats and OBummer were doing to north Alabama and our nation. I applaud him for that. Those bitter clingy uber liberal elites, even back home, are calling him a traitor, demanding he resign, and that he pay back the Dimocrats for his election. I responded with that he has voted conservative and voted against some of the legislation that I am tee-totally against, and that if he worries about my great-grandchildren as much as I do, then I will come back home and campaign for him anytime he wants. I further said that putting Party over Country was a non starter for me; and that I would vote for Griffith to return the funds to the DNC as soon as Arlen Specter returns the funds to the RNC.

    REP. PARKER GRIFFITH, HOLD MY GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN DEAR, AND I WILL WORK MY BUTT OFF FOR YOUR RE-ELECTION! Period.

  53. The leaders of the Democratic Party need to move back toward the center — and in doing so, set the stage for the many years’ worth of leadership necessary to produce the sort of pragmatic change the American people actually want.
    ———————————————–
    This was a possibility–before the health care miasma.

  54. We knew this day was coming and as we prepare for the holidays, must once again swallow the bitter taste of defeat at the hands of Obama and his dimocratic henchmen. Anyway, hope all of you have a merry-x-mas.

  55. Posted by Moe Lane (Profile)
    Thursday, December 24th at 1:00PM EST
    13 Comments
    (H/T: Hot Air) It’s bad when you have somebody from this administration wincing at a proposed foreign relations move:

    Sen. John Kerry has suggested becoming the first high-level U.S. emissary to make a public visit to Tehran since the 1979 Islamic revolution, a move White House officials say they won’t oppose.

    “…say they won’t oppose.” How… bloodless… a response. And how quick the administration was to remind the world that as head of the Foreign Relations Committee* the movements of Senator Kerry is beyond the White House’s control. It was all his idea, in fact. A complete surprise:

    The Obama administration hasn’t decided whether to make Sen. Kerry its official representative if he goes, but as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Kerry can visit if the White House and Tehran both approve.

    Many opponents of Tehran’s regime oppose such a visit, fearing it would lend legitimacy to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a time when his government is under continuing pressure from protests and opposition figures. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets again this week to voice their opposition to the government following the death of a reformist cleric.

    That Kerry’s timing this olive branch to the Iranian ruling regime just when street protests bubbled over is merely a sign that the Senator is watched over by a spirit possessed of vast cunning and political strategic genius.

    Who hates Senator Kerry.

    Moe Lane

    *Yes. I know. They made John Kerry head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES, PEOPLE.

  56. We knew this day was coming and as we prepare for the holidays, must once again swallow the bitter taste of defeat at the hands of Obama and his dimocratic henchmen. Anyway, hope all of you have a merry-x-mas.
    —————————————————–
    This is a tactical defeat and a strategic victory for us. Just like the Battle of the Coral Sea. This bill has forced him to repudiate campaign promises and to mark himself indelibly not as the moderate he pretended to be but as a hard core leftist. It has exposed his under the table dealings and its draconian provisions will come back time and again to haunt him. Meanwhile, Copenhagen was a bitter failure and his lack of global leadership was obvious to the world. The value of the year is that he has revealed who he is and the American People do not like it. For him, this was a phyrric victory purchased at the cost of his integrity and credibility. Simply put, I prefer our hand to his. The job program he introduces will get a bump and then another downward move, just in time for the elections.

  57. Well, All I can say about Kerry going to Iran is I hope Hillary doesn’t have to use her diplomacy skills to get him home safely.

    THe bankers and the left must be planning on running Kerry and Howard on the same ticket.

  58. “Many opponents of Tehran’s regime oppose such a visit, fearing it would lend legitimacy to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a time when his government is under continuing pressure from protests and opposition figures.”

    ——————–
    I read about this the other day. I continued to be disgusted by the way bambi and kerry and all the idiots keep cosying up to vicious/racist terrorists like this.

  59. Remember how the Iraqis would greet us with flowers? Here’s Harry Reid’s version of same:

    http://www.politico.com/livepulse/1209/Dems_not_worried_about_postvote_backlash_at_home.html?showall

    Democrats today have repeatedly expressed a confidence that they won’t face a backlash for their votes when they return home for the holidays, which would stand in marked contrast to the August recess.

    “This is a happy day. (Senate Republican Leader) Mitch McConnell said on the floor that we’re going to go home and hear our constituents rail against this bill. I don’t believe that. I believe that the negativity that Leader McConnell and others have continually displayed on the floor has peaked, and now when people learn what’s actually in the bill—and all the good it does—it is going to become more and more popular because it is good for America, good for the American people, and a true symbol of what we can do if we all pull together,” said Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer.

    On the floor before the vote, Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “We’re going to hear an earful, but it’s going to be an earful of wonderment and happiness that people waited for for a long time.

  60. Here is where Jim Webb (D-Va) was the last time I heard from him . . . what happened?

    Dear wbboei

    We thought you might be interested in the following column by Senator Webb published in today’s Winchester Star.

    http://www.winchesterstar.com/pages/view/still.html

    Webb cites concerns, amendments, votes on health care

    Sen. Jim Webb

    Like all of my colleagues in the Democratic Party, I voted in favor of proceeding to debate the proposed health-care reform legislation. I have yet to decide whether I will support final passage of the bill.

    I have stated on several occasions my concerns that the Obama administration should have begun the health-care process with a clear, detailed proposal, from which legislation could then be put into place. Instead, the legislation now before the Congress is the product of five separate congressional committees, three in the House and two in the Senate. I and my staff have carefully worked through thousands of pages of sometimes contradictory information, and have done our best to bring focus to the debate and clarity to any final product.

    Our country needs health-care reform. While a strong percentage of Americans are satisfied with their health care, the system is not working for millions of others. Spiraling costs for health care also have placed our biggest industries at a severe competitive disadvantage worldwide, and have become unsustainable for many small businesses.

    But true reform must be done in an effective and responsible fashion, without creating a cumbersome, overly bureaucratic system. The bottom line should be to achieve a more cost-effective health-care system that increases accessibility, affordability, and quality of care, and which does not burden our economy along the way.

    The process also requires openness, so that the American people understand exactly what is being debated. At the start of this debate I was one of eight senators who called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to post the text and complete budget scores of the health-care bill on a public web site for review at least 72 hours prior to both the first vote and final passage. This request was agreed to, affording proper transparency in the process.

    Over the past few weeks, I have taken a number of difficult votes. As with every other issue since I came to the Senate, I have voted my conscience throughout this process. I have broken with my party six times, including four votes to send the current legislation back to committee for a more thorough review.

    I voted five times against proposed cuts to Medicare due to my concerns about taking half a trillion dollars out of that system at a time when the pool for Medicare is about to expand with the retirement of those in the Baby Boom generation. I am a long-time supporter of Medicare Advantage programs which have, in my view, greatly improved services in rural areas of Virginia, and I did not want to see cuts to benefits or services.

    On the issue of abortion, I studied the bill closely to ensure that no taxpayer dollars will be used to fund abortions. I am convinced that this legislation strictly adheres to the requirements of the Hyde Amendment. It also includes clear conscience provisions for providers and consumers who elect to reject a plan that offers such coverage.

    Since drug prices in the U.S. have risen dramatically in recent years – a 9 percent jump in 2009 alone – I have co-sponsored an amendment to lower prescription drug costs. The measure would allow Americans to safely import lower-priced, Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs from other approved countries, and save the federal government nearly $20 billion over the next 10 years.

    In summary, I have been doing what I can to shape the bill, for the good of our country and without bowing to party politics. As we continue to debate the bill and amend it, I remain hopeful that the Senate can reach consensus on fair and effective health care legislation. Whether this is so will determine my vote on final passage

  61. Trust me. Jim is not the kind of guy who a wimp like Reid, or Durbin can bully. He was a Marine Corp company commander in Viet Nam, and won the Navy Cross, which is above the silver star and right below the medal of honor.

  62. Sounds like Kerry is aiming for SOS.
    ———————————
    A man’s reach should always exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for? If there is a banana peel in the room, you can count on Kerry to find it and step on it sooner or later.

  63. Remember how the Iraqis would greet us with flowers? Here’s Harry Reid’s version of same
    ———————————————
    dandilion wine

  64. Shah confirmed as new U.S.

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate on Thursday confirmed Rajiv Shah as head of USAID, putting the 36-year-old doctor in charge of the sprawling $20 billion aid agency which stands poised for a major funding boost.

    President Barack Obama nominated Shah to head the U.S. Agency for International Development last month, moving to fill a key vacancy in a foreign policy line-up geared toward putting new emphasis on development assistance to improve the U.S. image overseas.

    Shah, who will report directly to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, won widespread bipartisan support in his confirmation hearing.

    He takes office as the Obama administration plans a big increase in U.S. overseas aid, particularly in Afghanistan where a boost in civilian assistance is seen as critical to support the buildup of U.S.-led forces fighting Taliban insurgents.

    Officials aim to double overall U.S. aid funds to $52 billion by 2015, although the final size and scope of that increase are now under discussion as part of a four-yearly review of diplomacy and development policies expected to yield final results next year.

    Shah — most recently chief scientist at the Department of Agriculture and a former senior official at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — is both a medical doctor and specialist in food security issues, two items at the top of the U.S. aid agenda.

    Critics have said the 10-month delay in putting a USAID administrator in place have hobbled work in Afghanistan and elsewhere, with USAID often eclipsed by other U.S. government agencies including the Department of Defense. The agency has more than 6,800 people working in some 80 countries worldwide.

    Clinton, in a recent speech, promised that Shah, if confirmed, would have “a seat at the table” as the ramp-up takes shape. “Together, we will ensure that USAID is once again the premier development agency in the world,” she said.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BN21120091224?type=politicsNews

  65. Some Liberals Put President Obama on the Naughty List

    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    Promises, Promises

    This Christmas some liberals are putting President Obama on the naughty list, saying he has gone back on two important promises he made on health care.

    On Monday, December 21 the president told The Washington Post that he did not campaign on the concept of government-provided health insurance. But a TV ad put out by one progressive group plays clips of President Obama saying in July that any plan he signs must include the public option, which the Senate bill leaves out, and candidate Obama mocking an insurance mandate, which the bill includes.

    A statement by Adam Green from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee accompanying the ad reads: “President Obama should frankly feel ashamed that he promised Americans a public option, got people to believe real change was possible, and then never truly fought for it — instead, pushing an insurance mandate that he specifically campaigned against.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,581111,00.html

  66. Morris has proven that you can flip the 18 to 29 year olds through effective adversing. What you are left with, then, is a bill which has no majority support in the population, except for African Americans and possibly Hispanics because of the minority set asides. But the real story is found in the stongly oppose vs stongly favor numbers. He will drag them down with him and they deserve it for following this fool.

  67. December 24, 2009

    Envoy-on-envoy criticism over Jewish group

    A U.S. diplomat took an unusual shot at the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. in an interview with Haaretz.

    Hannah Rosenthal, who heads the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism called Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s refusal to speak to the left-leaning group J Street “most unfortunate” in the interview.

    Rosenthal said Oren “would have learned a lot” if he had participated in J Street’s conference. “I came away realizing what a generational divide there is, and I don’t know how it is in Israel. Young people want to be part of the discussion, they feel they have fresh ideas, and they feel that we have to end the stalemate,” she said.

    Establishment Jewish leaders, many of whom backed Oren’s stance and are deeply suspicious of whether J Street’s “pro-peace” stance is sufficiently concerned with Israel’s security, have been burning up the phone lines to the White House this morning, I’m told, asking whether Rosenthal spoke for the administration.

    UPDATE: Says Alan Solow, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, in a statement:

    Ambassador Oren has been working tirelessly and effectively since his appointment to build upon and enhance the strong relationship between the United States and Israel. All members of the Obama Administration with whom I have discussed his work have been deeply appreciative of his efforts. As an official of the United States government, it is inappropriate for the anti-Semitism envoy to be expressing her personal views on the positions Ambassador Oren has taken as well as on the subject of who needs to be heard from in the Jewish community. Such statements have nothing to do with her responsibilities and, based upon comments I am already receiving, could threaten to limit her effectiveness in the area for which she is actually responsible.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/1209/Envoyonenvoy_criticism_over_Jewish_group.html?showall

    —————–

    I was not impressed with her promotion to head the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism in the first place. She was on the board of J Street so her comments are biased to begin with. Not only that, but she advocates J Street’s position to completely freeze settlements and their lavish devotion of anything obama.

  68. On the floor before the vote, Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “We’re going to hear an earful, but it’s going to be an earful of wonderment and happiness that people waited for for a long time.“
    ——————————————————————————————————-

    Reid is delusional. “Wonderment and happiness.” I don’t think so, not at the expense of women’s reproductive rights, bailout of the insurance and pharmaceutical companies, and mandates. What has he been smoking?

  69. wbboei said:
    This bill has forced him to repudiate campaign promises and to mark himself indelibly not as the moderate he pretended to be but as a hard core leftist.

    =======================

    Leftist? Don’t you mean Corporatist?

  70. admin
    December 24th, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Thanks for the laughs and giggles, admin..

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

    See you all after the 2.75yr old twin terrors have their way with Santa’s presents…

  71. The only thing that should visit Iran are missiles from the US and Israel. That regime must be stopped now. Kerry was a weak candidate and has the respect of no world leaders. Stay home or better yet, go ice surfing.

  72. Merry Christmas to everyone and Happy Holidays.

    Confloyd, I’ve got about 5 inches of snow on the ground here and blizzard warnings just went up, I bet your grandchildren are loving this a white Christmas.

  73. Lisaque, No snow here, although the tornado hit in Lufkin and I have 1 grandchild there. She’s is ok.

    Merry Christmas too all. I will be on line tomorrow in between patients, I am a healthcare worker and very view times in the last 23 years have I had Christmas on Christmas day. I am lucky as me and my kids are working. All my children work in healthcare workers too so we schedule our Christmas on a different day.

  74. Will Obama force Hillary out in 2012 and make Kerry SOS?
    ——————————————————–
    I would not worry too much about that possibility. It will not happen because he will be toast by 2012. I have never seen the kind of anger toward a sitting president that I am seeing toward him. Not Bush and not Nixon. Given the toxic aspects of the bill just passed, the perverse agenda he will be pursuing in terms of amnesty, cap and trade, and a white elephant jobs bill and his inability to solve problems two things are inevitable. Either he will not run again, or else he will run and be soundly defeated. Either way neither Hillary nor Kerry will be secretary of state after 2012.

  75. Wbboei, Do you have inside information?? You seem so sure Hillary won’t be SOS in 2012. I agree, but the true question is what will Hillary be doing instead, we all hope she will be POTUS.

    I did notice in that video of Tarpley, he did say and suggested that we need a FDR democrat, not a republican. I was thinking we need a HDR-Clinton democrat.

  76. Merry Christmas all:I too agree with wbboei that Hillary will not be SoS in 2012 but will be the real candidate for the Presidency by popular demand worldwide.Few people realize who they have pushed into the OO.The BOGUS POTUS must be removed from office for the good of our country and those allied with us.Never has there been a more better qualified person to lead us and the world on the path to stability and prosperity.She must succeed.

    By ABM90 MO warned us early on that BO did not like paperwork and liked to leave decision making to his appointees.She really meant,He liked to buckpass the blame onto others and then go into hiding.

  77. Merry Christmas everyone!

    2009: The year of living fecklessly

    By Charles Krauthammer
    Friday, December 25, 2009

    On Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not just reject President Obama’s latest feckless floating nuclear deadline. He spat on it, declaring that Iran “will continue resisting” until the United States has gotten rid of its 8,000 nuclear warheads.

    So ends 2009, the year of “engagement,” of the extended hand, of the gratuitous apology –and of spinning centrifuges, two-stage rockets and a secret enrichment facility that brought Iran materially closer to becoming a nuclear power.

    We lost a year. But it was not just any year. It was a year of spectacularly squandered opportunity. In Iran, it was a year of revolution, beginning with a contested election and culminating this week in huge demonstrations mourning the death of the dissident Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri — and demanding no longer a recount of the stolen election but the overthrow of the clerical dictatorship.

    Obama responded by distancing himself from this new birth of freedom. First, scandalous silence. Then, a few grudging words. Then relentless engagement with the murderous regime. With offer after offer, gesture after gesture — to not Iran, but the “Islamic Republic of Iran,” as Obama ever so respectfully called these clerical fascists — the United States conferred legitimacy on a regime desperate to regain it.

    Why is this so important? Because revolutions succeed at that singular moment, that imperceptible historical inflection, when the people, and particularly those in power, realize that the regime has lost the mandate of heaven. With this weakening dictatorship desperate for affirmation, why is the United States repeatedly offering just such affirmation?

    Apart from ostracizing and delegitimizing these gangsters, we should be encouraging and reinforcing the demonstrators. This is no trivial matter. When pursued, beaten, arrested and imprisoned, dissidents can easily succumb to feelings of despair and isolation. Natan Sharansky testifies to the electric effect Ronald Reagan’s Evil Empire speech had on lifting spirits in the gulag. The news was spread cell to cell in code tapped on the walls. They knew they weren’t alone, that America was committed to their cause.

    Yet so aloof has Obama been that on Hate America Day (Nov. 4, the anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran), pro-American counter-demonstrators chanted, “Obama, Obama, you are either with us or with them,” i.e., their oppressors.

    Such cool indifference is more than a betrayal of our values. It’s a strategic blunder of the first order.

    Forget about human rights. Assume you care only about the nuclear issue. How to defuse it? Negotiations are going nowhere, and whatever U.N. sanctions we might get will be weak, partial, grudging and late. The only real hope is regime change. The revered and widely supported Montazeri had actually issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons.

    And even if a successor government were to act otherwise, the nuclear threat would be highly attenuated because it’s not the weapon but the regime that creates the danger. (Think India or Britain, for example.) Any proliferation is troubling, but a nonaggressive pro-Western Tehran would completely change the strategic equation and make the threat minimal and manageable.

    What should we do? Pressure from without — cutting off gasoline supplies, for example — to complement and reinforce pressure from within. The pressure should be aimed not at changing the current regime’s nuclear policy –that will never happen — but at helping change the regime itself.

    Give the kind of covert support to assist dissident communication and circumvent censorship that, for example, we gave Solidarity in Poland during the 1980s. (In those days that meant broadcasting equipment and copying machines.) But of equal importance is robust rhetorical and diplomatic support from the very highest level: full-throated denunciation of the regime’s savagery and persecution. In detail — highlighting cases, the way Western leaders adopted the causes of Sharansky and Andrei Sakharov during the rise of the dissident movement that helped bring down the Soviet empire.

    Will this revolution succeed? The odds are long but the reward immense. Its ripple effects would extend from Afghanistan to Iraq (in both conflicts, Iran actively supports insurgents who have long been killing Americans and their allies) to Lebanon and Gaza where Iran’s proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas, are arming for war.

    One way or the other, Iran will dominate 2010. Either there will be an Israeli attack or Iran will arrive at — or cross — the nuclear threshold. Unless revolution intervenes. Which is why to fail to do everything in our power to support this popular revolt is unforgivable.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/24/AR2009122402646.html?hpid%3Dopinionsbox1&sub=AR

  78. New Taliban video shows captive US soldier

    By Nasrat Shoib (AFP) – 8 hours ago

    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — The Taliban released a new video on Friday purportedly showing US soldier Bowe Robert Bergdahl who was captured in Afghanistan about six months ago.

    A spokesman for the hardline Islamist group said it was demanding the release of prisoners from US detention centres in exchange for Bergdahl’s freedom.

    The video features several clips of Bergdahl, 23, including one where he is in front of a carpet wearing in combat fatigues, a helmet and sunglasses, and another where he is seen shaven-headed in grey robes.

    “I’m afraid to tell you that this war has slipped from our fingers and it’s just going to be our next Vietnam unless the American people stand up and stop all this nonsense,” he said.

    Bergdahl, a private first class who disappeared on June 30, is the first US soldier to be captured in Afghanistan since the US-led war in 2001. In the video, Bergdahl gives details about himself such as his rank, date and place of birth and other family information, as well as deployment details.

    There was no immediate comment from the US military or NATO forces in Afghanistan about the video.

    “We are ready to release him in exchange for the release of our prisoners but the Americans are not ready to release our prisoners in exchange for their soldier,” a Taliban spokesman, Yousuf Ahmadi, told AFP. “He is not being tortured or tormented. He is being dealt with according to Sharia teachings of a war hostage,” he added, without saying what would happen if the Taliban demands were not met.

    The Taliban issued another video of Bergdahl in July, showing a visibly shaken shaven-headed soldier pleading for US troops to leave the war-torn nation.

    Ahmadi said the purpose of releasing the second video was to show to the world that the Taliban were winning the war more than eight years after the US-led invasion. “We want to show to the world that this is an invasion of Afghanistan, they are invaders, we want to show we are winning this war and the invaders will be either killed or captured like this.”

    It was not clear when the video was made.

    A man claiming to be a local Taliban commander told AFP in July that the kidnapped soldier had been taken across the border to Pakistan, where the Taliban are also waging an insurgency.

    But Ahmadi insisted Bergdahl was being kept inside Afghanistan and was never taken to Pakistan. Such claims are impossible to verify.

    A commander of the Taliban’s Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani faction, which is active in southeastern provinces of Paktya, Paktika and Khost which share a long porous border with Pakistan, claimed the abduction on July 2.

    Bergdahl went missing from Paktya province.

    In July, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced his capture as “outrageous” and said the United States was doing everything it could to locate and free him.

    Hundreds of US soldiers and troops from other nations have been killed in Afghanistan battling the widening Taliban-led insurgency.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gR0sBXnBx1nlAi6ALQ8HJTa_NjXg

  79. My boss gave me Teddy’s book for Christmas. I am skimming at we were all right, he was playboy. His 21st birthday, he went skiing in Austria. Well, how many folks get to do that on the 21st? He was stationed in Germany and mom came and took him out for a 3 day furlough in a limo. Gee, I wonder how many of our fighting men/women get to do that.

    It’s quiet interesting as a person can see how out of touch our rich senators are from average Americans. Thats why they pass such horrendous bills.

  80. M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S

    Hello All… Hope everyone is having a great xmas!
    I am back in south dakota now,and having our first big blizzard of the year…

    I haven’t been able to get online since returning home as i still do not have internet at home, although i do this weekend as i borrowed a friends mobile usb internet connection 😀

    I have been keeping up via fox news so don’t feel like i missed alot, mostly just the big pink family!!

    well i want to wish you all a happy new year and will hopefully be back here daily in 2010…there is much work to be done then.

  81. Evidently, Kessler believes a cat barks. For him to suggest that big media is catching on to “Shaft” Obama and will therefore begin to assume the role of critic and honest broker is ABSURD on its face. They serve the same master he does, they put him in office, they shill for him, they lie to protect him. As a group, they are equally committed to the destruction of the middle class, atonement for imaginary sins and the promotion of a secular religion.

    The answer for conservatives is not to look for hope where there is no hope, or to wish upon a star that journalistic integrity will somehow emerge. That is self delusion. The answer is for the Republican Party to write a letter to CNN and NBC citing a pattern of prejudice against Republican candidates and tea parties, sexism and egregious examples. Then, put them on notice that they will grant no further interviews and not agree to any debates on their networks.

    When they come back and scream about freedom of the press, the response would be that they have jumped the shark. Freedom of the press was intended to protect patriots in with printing presses churning out literature questioning the divine right of kings to ride roughshod over the rights of Americans. It was never intended to protect the divine right of multi national businesses to shill for the king, smite down all challengers and destroy the rights of free people.

    Then see what they do. I guarantee you that they will change not because they want to but because they are forced to. The decision by Comcast to keep the staff of NBC suggests that they will not change. Yes, I know how mergers work and you do not do anything at first which generates panic because that could destroy the good will of the business. But is you throw this stick of dynamite in their path, believe me heads will role.

    Is the Republican Party serious? Are they competent? Do they have any guts. Or are they flacid people like McCain, who demands center stage but lacks leadership ability or that fire in the belly. As long as they have casper milk toast types like Michael Steele, and promote eunuchs like Governor Crist over principled people like Marco Rubio they will falter. But in that case the American People will find other ways to defeat a president whose unstated aim is to destroy the country.

  82. If we are going to continue with these debates we need to get them off the commercial networks and put them on c-spam/

  83. The above comments would also cite Annenburg and Pew studies showing how unbalanced media coverage was in favor of Obama, and how mean spirited and destructive it was toward his opponents. The letter would not be issued as a threat, but as a fait acompoli. We aint talking to you no more. Print whatever lies you want about us, as you have been doing all along. And weh you do that we will cite your own record back to you and call what you are doing now an act of retaliation. If I were writing that letter, I would leave myself an out, but would project strength and commitment. The whole idea would be to put them on the defensive. I would say unless we see some dramatic change in the tenor of your coverage, unless you stop substituting fact for opinion, and unless you put the whole truth in front of the American People rather than selective evidence designed to promote your own agenda, our decision to boycott your network must remain firm. This is not a plea for special treatment; it is a plea for truth and fundamental fairness.

  84. 2009: The year of living fecklessly

    By Charles Krauthammer
    Friday, December 25, 2009

    ==================

    For once I agree with Krauthammer!

    So what is Hillary doing about it? Dare we hope something is being done quietly?

  85. US condemns Taliban soldier video

    The US has condemned a Taliban video of an American soldier captured by the militants in Afghanistan last June as an affront to his family at Christmas. The man in the film, identifying himself as Private Bowe Robert Bergdahl, criticises the US over the Afghan war and relations with Muslims.

    A Taliban spokesman then calls for the release of captured insurgents in exchange for the 23-year-old.

    His parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl, responded by appealing for his release.

    The Western military alliance Nato confirmed that the man in the video – seen wearing sunglasses, a military helmet and uniform – was Pte Bergdahl. It said he had clearly been forced to read a prepared statement. It is not clear when the video, released on Friday, was recorded.

    “ We love you and we believe in you, stay strong ”
    Bergdahl family statement

    The airborne infantryman, originally from the US state of Idaho, spoke clearly and appeared healthy. He was captured in Paktika province, a Taliban stronghold in eastern Afghanistan, on 30 June.

    US Navy Rear Adm Gregory Smith said in a statement: “It reflects nothing more than the violent, deceitful tactics of the Taliban insurgency. “To release this video on Christmas Day is an affront to the deeply concerned family and friends of Bowe Bergdahl.”

    The Bergdahl family later issued a statement through the Idaho National Guard, urging the captors “to let our only son come home”. And to Pte Bergdahl, the family said: “We love you and we believe in you. Stay strong.”

    ‘Next Vietnam’

    In the video, Pte Bergdahl gives his rank, date and place of birth, and deployment details. “This is just going to be the next Vietnam unless the American people stand up and stop all this nonsense,” he says. He adds: “You are not fighting a small group of terrorist guerrilla fighters. “You are fighting an organised guerrilla army that has perfected guerrilla warfare better than any country has ever perfected it in history.”

    A statement read by a Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, appears at the end of the video and renews demands for a “limited number of prisoners” to be exchanged for Pte Bergdahl. The insurgents also released a video of the American a few weeks after he was captured.

    The Pentagon has said Pte Bergdahl was serving with an Alaska-based infantry regiment in Paktika province. He vanished from his base, near the border with Pakistan, just five months after arriving in Afghanistan.
    The military has been trying to locate him ever since, and a reward has been offered for his safe return.

    He is believed to be the first soldier seized in either Iraq or Afghanistan for at least two years.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8430585.stm

  86. Wbboei, Do you have inside information?? You seem so sure Hillary won’t be SOS in 2012. I agree, but the true question is what will Hillary be doing instead, we all hope she will be POTUS.
    ———————————————
    That is my prayer. But for that to happen, the party must back away from Obama, and the only way that will happen is if the Republican Party wakes up and plays hardball. They key to this thing is making the press a major focus, showing the public how corrupt they are and making them fully accountable for their miseeds.

    If all the facts were put on the table it would be obvious that Hillary is the only leader who can get us out of this mess. She deserves to be President in 2012. I hope this does not break anyones heart, but 2016 is unrealistic. Worse it is a red herring. The vice president thing would be a repudiation of core principle. I could never support it.

  87. Monday, December 21, 2009,

    Gov. says health care bill hurts NY

    New York Governor David Paterson said a U.S. Senate health care reform agreement announced over the weekend is unfair to New York.

    “While I am pleased that today’s announcement of a Senate agreement on health care reform should benefit the 2.5 million uninsured New Yorkers, I am deeply troubled that it worsens what was already an inequitable situation for New York state,” Paterson said in a Dec. 19 statement.

    He said the Senate bill already disproportionately burdened the state and New York City by increasing their Medicaid expenditures by nearly $1 billion a year. The Dec. 19 agreement addressed concerns of two states that would have fared worse than New York—Massachusetts and Vermont—by including state-specific provisions to provide both states with additional assistance. But “New York received nothing.”

    “In fact, the bill worsens an already bad situation by retroactively taking away federal Medicaid assistance provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” he said. “This may cost the State Financial Plan between $300 and $400 million. New York continues to send more money to Washington than its gets back. In 2008, it was $55.6 billion more – a greater disparity than any other state. At the same time, New York still faces a projected deficit of $7 billion to $9 billion for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, and a four-year gap of $44 billion. Any additional burden is simply untenable.”

    He urged New York’s Congressional delegation to insist on changes to treat New York fairly during the Conference Committee process.

    http://albany.bizjournals.com/albany/stories/2009/12/21/daily1.html

  88. I did notice in that video of Tarpley, he did say and suggested that we need a FDR democrat, not a republican. I was thinking we need a HDR-Clinton democrat.
    ———————————
    You can bet on it. He respects Hillary and despises Obama. Anyone who prefers sovereignty to world government as he does would feel that way. Hillary is an American. Obama is a citizen of the world.

  89. Purportedly this order was signed a few days before Obama went on vacation..

    Analysis Of The Obama Interpol Order

    Quote:

    By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 1 of the International Organizations Immunities Act (22 U.S.C. 288), and in order to extend the appropriate privileges, exemptions, and immunities to the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), it is hereby ordered that Executive Order 12425 of June 16, 1983, as amended, is further amended by deleting from the first sentence the words “except those provided by Section 2(c), Section 3, Section 4, Section 5, and Section 6 of that Act” and the semicolon that immediately precedes them.

    Here is the original EO12425, signed by Reagan in 1983:

    h.. w… answers.com/topic/executive-order-12425

    Quote:

    By virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and statutes of the United States, including Section 1 of the International Organizations Immunities Act (59 Stat. 669, 22 U.S.C. 288), it is hereby ordered that the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), in which the United States participates pursuant to 22 U.S.C. 263a, is hereby designated as a public international organization entitled to enjoy the privileges, exemptions and immunities conferred by the International Organizations Immunities Act; except those provided by Section 2(c), the portions of Section 2(d) and Section 3 relating to customs duties and federal internal-revenue importation taxes, Section 4, Section 5, and Section 6 of that Act. This designation is not intended to abridge in any respect the privileges, exemptions or immunities which such organization may have acquired or may acquire by international agreement or by Congressional action.
    So Obama’s Amendment turns Reagan’s EO 12425 into:

    Quote:

    By virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and statutes of the United States, including Section 1 of the International Organizations Immunities Act (59 Stat. 669, 22 U.S.C. 288), it is hereby ordered that the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), in which the United States participates pursuant to 22 U.S.C. 263a, is hereby designated as a public international organization entitled to enjoy the privileges, exemptions and immunities conferred by the International Organizations Immunities Act. This designation is not intended to abridge in any respect the privileges, exemptions or immunities which such organization may have acquired or may acquire by international agreement or by Congressional action.

    (Wow, that’s a lot of “except those provided by sections” deleted! So there’s NO restrictions anymore? Keep reading….
    Here’s a link to Int’l Organizations Immunities Act: )

    h… w… law.cornell.edu/uscode/ht…_20_XVIII.html

    Section 2(c) covers SEARCH AND SEIZURE! INTERPOL is now untouchable on US soil. Remember, the original EO excluded these exemptions! These exemptions now apply to INTERPOL on US soil.

    Quote:

    (c) Property and assets of international organizations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, unless such immunity be expressly waived, and from confiscation. The archives of international organizations shall be inviolable.

    Quote:

    definition of : inviolable

    h… dictionary.reference.com/browse/inviolable

    1. prohibiting violation; secure from destruction, violence, infringement, or desecration: an inviolable sanctuary; an inviolable promise.
    2. incapable of being violated; incorruptible; unassailable: inviolable secrecy.

    Section 3 exempts duties and taxation from baggage. INTERPOL now can bring in (or out) a bag with whatever it wants in it. How can you impose duty or tax on something inside a bag you can’t search?

    Quote:

    § 288b Baggage and effects of officers and employees exempted from customs duties and internal revenue taxes
    Pursuant to regulations prescribed by the Commissioner of Customs with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, the baggage and effects of alien officers and employees of international organizations, or of aliens designated by foreign governments to serve as their representatives in or to such organizations, or of the families, suites, and servants of such officers, employees, or representatives shall be admitted (when imported in connection with the arrival of the owner) free of customs duties and free of internal-revenue taxes imposed upon or by reason of importation.

    Section 4 exempts all property taxes being levied. INTERPOL can now build or occupy whatever properties it wants within the US and not have to pay any property taxes of any sort.

    Quote:

    § 288c. Exemption from property taxes

    International organizations shall be exempt from all property taxes imposed by, or under the authority of, any Act of Congress, including such Acts as are applicable solely to the District of Columbia or the Territories.

    Section 5 gives immunity from any sort of registration of foreign agents. INTERPOL now doesn’t even need to declare themselves or presumably even need a passport to enter the US. SHADOW POLICE! Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself! Oh and you can’t sue any of them for any reason.

    Quote:

    § 288d. Privileges, exemptions, and immunities of officers, employees, and their families; waiver

    (a) Persons designated by foreign governments to serve as their representatives in or to international organizations and the officers and employees of such organizations, and members of the immediate families of such representatives, officers, and employees residing with them, other than nationals of the United States, shall, insofar as concerns laws regulating entry into and departure from the United States, alien registration and fingerprinting, and the registration of foreign agents, be entitled to the same privileges, exemptions, and immunities as are accorded under similar circumstances to officers and employees, respectively, of foreign governments, and members of their families.

    (b) Representatives of foreign governments in or to international organizations and officers and employees of such organizations shall be immune from suit and legal process relating to acts performed by them in their official capacity and falling within their functions as such representatives, officers, or employees except insofar as such immunity may be waived by the foreign government or international organization concerned.

    Section 6, last but not least, sets requirements that foreign agents be “recognized” by the State Dept in order to receive the immunities in this Act. Not anymore!

    Quote:

    § 288e. Personnel entitled to benefits

    (a) Notification to and acceptance by Secretary of State of personnel

    No person shall be entitled to the benefits of this subchapter, unless he:

    (1) shall have been duly notified to and accepted by the Secretary of State as a representative, officer, or employee; or
    (2) shall have been designated by the Secretary of State, prior to formal notification and acceptance, as a prospective representative, officer, or employee; or
    (3) is a member of the family or suite, or servant, of one of the foregoing accepted or designated representatives, officers, or employees.

    (b) Deportation of undesirables

    Should the Secretary of State determine that the continued presence in the United States of any person entitled to the benefits of this subchapter is not desirable, he shall so inform the foreign government or international organization concerned, as the case may be, and after such person shall have had a reasonable length of time, to be determined by the Secretary of State, to depart from the United States, he shall cease to be entitled to such benefits.

    (c) Extent of diplomatic status

    No person shall, by reason of the provisions of this subchapter, be considered as receiving diplomatic status or as receiving any of the privileges incident thereto other than such as are specifically set forth herein.

    So, here’s the bottom line:

    INTERPOL – an international law enforcement agency – has just been granted complete and utter “diplomatic immunity” within the borders of the United States, courtesy of Obama. They are not subject to any Constitutional limitations within the United States. Good luck filing for discovery, documents, witnesses or subpoenas against a police force that is operating outside of the Constitution in your own country! You can’t sue them. Their records can’t be searched. They are not subject to FOIA requests. You probably won’t even know the name of the agent prosecuting you if INTERPOL comes to visit. And they don’t have to tell you either.

    WAKE UP PEOPLE!

    Here is the Interpol Executive Order signed by traitor Obama on December 17th 2009

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/executive-order-amending-executive-order-12425

  90. If I were advising the Republican Party I would tell them that a tsunami is building against Obama and all incumbents. I would tell them that they need to get out ahead of it or it will take them down as well. The way to do that is to take on the common enemy which is of course big media. If they can lead that charge effectively then they can bring down Obama. What sustains him at this point is their propaganda thus it is imperative to reveal who they are. Yes, politicians have done that before, but this time they will have the country on their sides. Let the public intuit that nbc and cnn are obama controlled networks.

  91. Krauthammer paints a bleak scenario. Evidently, he has not heard the old horseface Kerry will be sliding in there on a banana peel any day now with the uneqivocal support of the regime, as in we take no position on this trip but will not oppose it. If per chance Kerry is abducted and held for ransom it would be most unfortunate. We would have to burn a candle for him. But if per chance someone was foolish enough to pay that random and repatriate him to these shores, well that would be a tragedy.

  92. My observation of the above post on Interpol:

    I’m just wondering- Seeing the farce of the COP15 was revealed for what it is, a fraud and a dismal failure. There were NO binding documents signed turning over our “sovereignty” to the New World Order under the farcical pretext of ‘Humans responsible for Global Warming’.

    It appears this Executive Order was signed a few days (12/17) before Obama made an appearance at the Global Summit and had the Summit produced the fraud they were looking for, this order would have the full force for which it was intended.

    Otherwise, this Executive Order has no teeth unless “Cap and Trade” and “Carbon Tax” legislation are passed by Congress and allowed to be enforced by Interpol domestically. This is a worisome sword still hanging over our heads in spite of the Copenhagen failure.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I wonder if all the homes empty from the rampant foreclosures were/are the designated residences for housing the forecast of a huge influx of Interpol employees? (International Police Force)

    Of course the Banks are holding title to these houses and would need to work in tandem with an international agency… very troubling- if this was the intent all along.

  93. “If all the facts were put on the table it would be obvious that Hillary is the only leader who can get us out of this mess. She deserves to be President in 2012.”

    ————–
    Where do Soros, Pelosi, and Emanuel (among other enemies) fit into this scenario?

  94. Dims will always choose Party over country. That is why CAP and Trade will pass–60-40. But the public outcry will be great. That is also why Amnesty for 20 million will pass–60-40. Of course, some senators will seal the faustian pact with sweeteners that exempt their state from onerous provisions. The public outcry will be significant. Then the Dims rig the voting machines, assault innocent people at the direction of the White House–just like deputy chief of staff Messina did and attempt to steal the election. Will the Republicans retire to the 19th hole or will they fight. Anyone who retires to the 19th hole should be stripped of party rank and consigned to the root cellar for the duration.

  95. Jan–I am speculating. I think Soros would be marginalized. Pelosi will be hung in effigy in 2010. If they gave me the budget I could do that myself. Think how much easier it would be in the hands of someone talented. Emanuel would run for pubic office in Chicago. These people have burned their bridges and would not be part of a remedial effort for a problem they created through their own malfeasance and misfeasance.

  96. #
    JanH
    December 25th, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    “If all the facts were put on the table it would be obvious that Hillary is the only leader who can get us out of this mess. She deserves to be President in 2012.”

    ————–
    Where do Soros, Pelosi, and Emanuel (among other enemies) fit into this scenario?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    Any member of Congress who supports this bloodless coup should be removed for Treason against the Constitution the swore an oath to support and the people the Constitution is designated to protect.

  97. The republicans need to take a hard look at who the secretaries of state are in Nevada and Connecticut. They need to write them a letter proposing comprehensive review of voting machines, and insistence upon a paper trail. Otherwise Reid and Dodd will steal the election right from under them, and more importantly the American People. I am sure the dims are talking with blue state about that now. Traitors.

  98. Any member of Congress who supports this bloodless coup should be removed for Treason against the Constitution the swore an oath to support and the people the Constitution is designated to protect.
    ——————————————————————
    There are only 60 of them in the Senate.

  99. In criminal law the prosecution must prove intent, i.e. mens rea. Absent a confession or words indicating intent, this requires the creation of a legal fiction. One such fiction is that a defendant is deemed to have intended the natural and probable consequences of his actions, whether or not the had specific consequences in mind when he committed the guilty act, i.e. actus reus. In that same context, the dims who supported Obama are on the hook for everything he does to destroy this country, whether or not they intended the particular harm complained of. This health care bill which they did not bother to read will be their undoing.

  100. Mrs. Smith, All those empty house are going to be for the immigrants from Africa with AIDs and the Doctors, nurses,lab, and xray people that will be needed for the new healthcare system. It will knock our salaries back to the 1980 level, just think what that will do for cost containment, the reason for this healthcare fascade. The republicans are in this knee deep. They are just keeping their hands clean of the dirty work.

  101. Mrs. Smith, I just can’t imagine an American President who would give our country up like this one has. Oh, I forgot he is a citizen of the world, not just America.

  102. Wbboei, the republicans and democrats own the machines, it up to the Wall Street Bankers who get to play, and no one else.

  103. Confloyd:

    The republicans are in this knee deep. They are just keeping their hands clean of the dirty work.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    You bet they are… They feign outrage and heckle BO but in the end… they do absolutely NOTHING… and they WON’T until the country is BK.

    Then they may step-in riding to the rescue on their white horses again feigning to save the day. The problem is by then the country and our economy will be in ruins and the turnaround will be, THEY will BLAME Obama.

    Dump both parties and hope Hillary becomes the head of an Indy-Democrat Party.

  104. Mrs. Smith, As I said in a previous post my boss bought the book Teddy wrote, she had no idea that he wasn’t my favorite person. The book however has answered many questions about the election of Obama. They ran it as they did JFK’s in 1959, the old politics is no good, and a new face with new ideas the best. It worked for JFK, not for the “shaft”. JFK did not let the bankers on Wall Street run his presidency.

    I now know that Ted was eaten up with jealousy over the Clinton’s. He remarked in the book about how BC would say “ya’ll”. According to Ted, the Kennedy’s were responsible for everything that was good that came after FDR. Medicare, Americans with disabilities, Family leave act & etc.

  105. December 24, 2009

    Michelle Obama’s Poll Numbers Drop to 55 Percent From 62 Percent

    The latest Rasmussen poll shows First Lady Michelle Obama is ending 2009 with a dip in her favorability ratings. Fifty-five percent of voters have at least a somewhat favorable view of Mrs. Obama in the December survey, down from 62 percent the month before. Mrs. Obama’s previous favorables ranged from 58 percent to 67 percent. This is her lowest point since monthly polling on Mrs. Obama began in March, Rasmussen reports.

    However, Mrs. Obama’s polling is still well ahead of President Obama’s numbers. He winds up the year with some of his lowest marks to date.

    cont. at…

    http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/12/24/michelle-obamas-poll-numbers-drop-to-55-percent-from-62-percent/

  106. Obama’s Bad Jobs Lot

    Oxford Analytica, 12.25.09

    The continuing crisis of the labor market presents a major political challenge for President Barack Obama, since the Democratic party’s fate in the November 2010 mid-term congressional elections is tied to the employment situation. Following this month’s White House ”jobs summit”, the president has pushed more spending and incentives designed to promote job creation.

    Economic growth since the third quarter and declining initial jobless claims are positive data points, but have done little to reduce the scale of the unemployment problem. While the case can be made that net job creation is likely to resume during the new year, it may not be robust enough rapidly to reduce unemployment. For President Barack Obama, this poses major political and economic challenges, not least because elements of the Democratic party’s core support base have been worst affected by the jobs crisis–and may retaliate by failing to turn out for the November 2010 mid-term congressional elections.

    Labor market distress. While the Labor Department’s recent weekly and monthly reports on the employment situation have some positive features, the job market is still going through one of its worst troughs in decades:

    –Widespread joblessness. The official unemployment rate is 10% (November), but if those who have ceased looking for work, are underemployed, or have exhausted their benefits are included the number exceeds 17%. Moreover, 36% of the unemployed have been out of work for at least six months, and 20% have been idle for at least a year.

    –Worst affected groups. Disaggregated by age, gender and ethnicity, the unemployment data also exposes worrying trends: for African-Americans the unemployment rate is 15.7%, over 50% higher than the official rate. Among Hispanics, unemployment exceeds 13%. The young have been particularly hard hit: unemployment among those aged 16-24 stands at 19%, and for African-Americans in this age group it is nearly 30%. Men aged 25-54 are twice as likely to be unemployed as women of the same age.

    Obama’s political dilemma. African-American and Hispanic voters backed Obama overwhelmingly in November 2008. However, last month, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic interest group, unexpectedly characterised the president’s measures to fight unemployment as ”inadequate”. While high unemployment affecting these groups is unlikely to cause them to turn to the Republican opposition in significant numbers, it is likely to reduce turnout in the mid-term elections, undermining congressional Democrats.

    Policy responses. At his White House ”jobs summit” earlier this month, the president pledged that he was open to any ”demonstrably good ideas” on tackling unemployment, with the proviso that fiscal constraints meant that new spending would be limited. However, he subsequently indicated that at least some of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds repaid by banks would be ”reprogrammed” into job creation measures.

    Outlook. Despite the prevalence of joblessness, passage of a second stimulus package is opposed by more than two to one among U.S. voters, according to Gallup polling data since mid-2009. This is largely due to a general public belief that stimulus and relief funds have been misspent or directed towards large Wall Street institutions, rather than ordinary workers. Therefore, the administration and Congress will not characterise any ”jobs bill” that emerges early next year as a second stimulus package, even if it includes more funding for public works projects and other job creation schemes.

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/12/23/obama-joblessness-unemployment-us-economy-business-oxford-analytica_print.html

  107. confloyd
    December 25th, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    I’d return the book for a credit at the bookstore. 🙂

    Unfortunately for Teddy, he was the family’s biggest disappointment. He was too young to be in JFK and RFK’s inner circle. He was not privy to their private conversation and the vision they painted for the future. Ted was a gopher when JFK ran for president. He never took their goals and vision seriously. He was the party boy flaunting the power of the Kennedy name and all the accouterments and open doors that came with that power.

    If Ted was all that, he wouldn’t have let the MA General Assembly and Gov Patrick pass the HC Bill
    that was to be the model Obama used nationally.

    The State of MA is allowing illegal aliens to be part of MA HC Reform. They know it will ultimately break the system but are doing it anyway.

  108. Whoever said we would be safer because a citizen of the WORLD was President just needs to have their head examined.
    They just tried to blow up a plane from Nigeria to Detroit. The muslim tried light the explosive on descent to Detroits airport.

    We have had Ft. Hood and others, I thought if we extended our hand in friendship, everything was supposed to be reset??

  109. AP is saying the muslim with AlQueda links came from Amsterdam, but the yahoo news said the flight orginated from Nigeria. Anyway the can they try and cover for these terrorists. How can this country survive with this SOB at the wheel for three more years.

  110. Those bastards have been trying to blow up a plane on CHristmas for years and they almost did. How the explosives got on the plane is not known. Janet Nepolitano isn’t keeping us very safe, she is too busy going on talk shows saying the red, yellow, green did not work. Well it did too, we were never this close to another terrorist attack as we are today under Nepolitano.

  111. Economic growth since the third quarter and declining initial jobless claims are positive data points, but have done little to reduce the scale of the unemployment problem.
    —————————————–
    That is because they were never real to begin with. The cash for clunkers program produced a blip as opposed to a sustainable recovery. The surge in Christmas hiring was seasonal and not sustainable. The stimulus approach has not worked, and the only honest moment in the conference came when he asked for new ideas, the implication being that he was clueless. A policy based on smoke and mirrors, minority set asides, and make work projects is about all you will get from a shallow man like him. The truth is the problems are structural, we have lost our competitive edge, and the things he has done to discourage capital formation and investment and the anti small business policies he has adopted all but guarantee that when recovery does come it will be anemic and unsustainable. His track record on the domestic economy is abysmal. For those who voted for the bunko artist who preached hope and change rather than someone like Hillary who could deliver it they are getting exactly what they deserve. Smoke and mirrors.

  112. damnosa hereditas for dems–this “gift” to the American People as the dirty Harry Reid called it.

    Home > Morris Print Page | Forward Page | E-mail Us Obamacare Will Alienate Americans
    Tuesday, 22 Dec 2009 03:58 PMArticle Font Size
    By: Dick Morris

    Obama’s healthcare bill, the poisoned Kool-Aid making its way through the Senate, will not confer any of its supposed benefits on Americans until 2013. But they will find themselves chafing at its restrictions and paying its taxes immediately after the law takes effect. Then, they will see no gain, but plenty of pain, for the next three years.

    This odd juxtaposition of “suffer now, benefit later” is the byproduct of the administration’s sleight of hand in specifying ten years worth of cuts and taxes in the legislation, but deferring its benefits for the first four years. By comparing six years of spending with ten years of taxing, it managed to appear deficit neutral under the rules of the Congressional Budget Office. In fact, the annual revenues fall far short of covering any single year’s worth of spending, adding to the deficit for each of the last six years over the next ten, but, viewing the decade as a whole, it appears deficit neutral.

    Yet the political price is hardly neutral. Democrats who misguidedly vote for this monstrosity will face immediate political repercussions.

    The harshest of these backlashes will come from the elderly who will suddenly visit their doctors and be told “no” when they ask for therapies or treatments. The rationing of medical care will start immediately on enactment and, one hopes, the outraged phone calls will start to descend on those whose votes enabled it.

    The first “no” will hit the ten million elderly who now rely on Medicare Advantage to pay for the care Medicare itself does not cover. In a payoff to AARP, Obama gutted this program in his bill, ending over $100 billion in federal premium subsidies. These ten million voters will get the grim news that their premiums are going up and their benefits dropping early in 2010. The goal, of course, is to force them to drop Medicare Advantage and sign up, instead, for Medigap insurance — offered, not coincidentally, by the AARP — which provides less coverage at higher cost.

    Young people without health insurance can expect to start writing $750 annual checks to Washington to pay the fines written into the bill. (And, after the conference committee finishes its work, the fines may be higher.)

    All Americans will soon find their insurance premiums rising as a result of the bill. The young, uninsured will not buy policies. Why should they? Why not just pay the $750 fines each year? Why pay between two percent and 10 percent of their household income before subsidies kick in? It makes no financial sense for anyone making more than $30,000 to pay for coverage. (And most of those under that threshold will be covered by Medicaid, not by private insurance.)

    There is no reason for the young to buy private insurance. The legislation requires that health insurers take all comers and not raise rates based on pre-existing conditions. So the young can get coverage when they need it, having only paid $750 per year beforehand.

    The difference in cost will, of course, be borne by families throughout America who will see their health insurance premiums increase. President Obama and his Democratic rubber stamps may appreciate that they are not raising taxes on the middle class, just raising mandatory health insurance premiums, but the distinction is likely to be lost on swing voters.

    From now on, any increase in health insurance premiums will become the political responsibility of the Obama administration. As Gen. Colin Powell once said of Iraq, “You break it. You own it.” Since these premiums have been rising by an average of 10% per year for more than the past decade, this is a legacy most politicians would sensibly avoid if they could.

  113. December 24, 2009

    Michelle Obama’s Poll Numbers Drop to 55 Percent From 62 Percent

    The latest Rasmussen poll shows First Lady Michelle Obama is ending 2009 with a dip in her favorability ratings. Fifty-five percent of voters have at least a somewhat favorable view of Mrs. Obama in the December survey, down from 62 percent the month before. Mrs. Obama’s previous favorables ranged from 58 percent to 67 percent. This is her lowest point since monthly polling on Mrs. Obama began in March, Rasmussen reports.

    However, Mrs. Obama’s polling is still well ahead of President Obama’s numbers. He winds up the year with some of his lowest marks to date.
    ——————————
    Now would be a good time to release those whitey tapes, if they still exist.

  114. Everyone remember… Barbara Boxer dragged her sorry butt cross-cuntry to campaign for the election of Joe Lieberman… campaigning against the Democrat in the race! Talk about bad judgement.

  115. Mrs. Smith said:
    unless “Cap and Trade” and “Carbon Tax” legislation are passed by Congress and allowed to be enforced by Interpol domestically.

    =====================

    Huh? Enforced how?

  116. Russia: No proof of military N-plans in Iran

    Sat, 26 Dec 2009

    As Western powers batten down the hatches and prepare sanctions against Tehran, a senior Russian official says there still is no proof of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

    In remarks published on Friday, deputy Russian foreign minister Alexander Saltanov reiterated that Moscow is not convinced that Iran seeks to weoponize its nuclear program, and moreover he has not been shown any corroborative evidence confirming that the country has any such plans. “Russia has no concrete information that Iran is planning to construct a weapon. It may be more like Japan, which has nuclear readiness but does not have a bomb,” Primakov told The Jerusalem Post.

    In order to pressure Iran into halting its nuclear work, Washington and a number of European countries have vowed to push for new UN sanctions early next year. But the calls for renewed pressure were once again snubbed by China and Russia.

    Saltanov said while “Iran has a positive potential” to cooperate with the West on its nuclear case, it is most evident that a military solution against the Tehran government would only make matters worse. “If Israel attacks Iran it will cause great instability and will only postpone the Iranian program, not end it,” noted the Russian official.

    Israel routinely threatens to bomb Iran’s enrichment sites, arguing that the country’s nuclear work is a mortal threat to Tel Aviv, which ironically is reported to have the Middle East’s sole nuclear arsenal and 200 nuclear warheads at its disposal. This is while Iran, unlike Tel Aviv, is a signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has opened its nuclear facilities to routine inspections by the UN nuclear watchdog.

    In response to Israeli war threats, Tehran warns that if Tel Aviv steps out of line, it will close the strategic Strait of Hormuz to maritime traffic, including the 15 or so supertankers that sail through on a daily basis to deliver the world’s oil supplies.

    A recent report by the US Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) has confirmed that if the United States or Israel decide to bomb Tehran’s nuclear sites, Iran’s naval modernization and maritime capabilities have reached a point where it can shut down the strategic Strait of Hormuz. “Given the importance of the Strait, disrupting traffic flow or even threatening to do so may be an effective tool for Iran,” said the intelligence report, which was revealed by Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin in November.

    It notes that while Iran’s ability to shut down the Strait of Hormuz may be transitory, the impact would undoubtedly have far-reaching consequences for the already-fragile world economy. “[World economies would suffer] a serious economic impact from a sustain closure of the Strait of Hormuz due to greatly reduced supplies of crude oil, petroleum supplies and (liquefied natural gas),” ONI said.

    On the same note, the report adds that not only has Tehran acquired “increasingly sophisticated systems” from China and Russia, but the “modernization” of the Iranian navy is to an extent that would help the government carry out such a closure if need be.

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=114674&sectionid=351020103

  117. When young women don’t vote for women

    By Anne E. Kornblut
    Sunday, December 27, 2009; B05

    Geraldine Ferraro recalls the specific moment in 2008 when she lost it. It was Super Tuesday, the day in early February when millions of Democratic primary voters across the nation headed to the polls. Ferraro, the former vice presidential nominee and at that point the only woman ever to have run on a national presidential ticket, anxiously waited for the results to come in — desperately hoping that Hillary Clinton had managed to turn around her campaign for the presidential nomination.

    And then Ferraro got a call from one of her grown daughters, who had just returned from a polling station in Massachusetts.

    “Did you vote?” Ferraro asked.

    “Yes,” her daughter replied.

    “Who’d you vote for?” Ferrraro asked.

    There was a pause.

    “Barack Obama,” her daughter quietly confessed.

    Ferraro flipped — becoming, in her words, “a lunatic.”

    “What is the matter with you?” she screamed into the receiver. “You know Hillary. You have seen my involvement with her.”

    Her daughter struggled to explain, saying Obama just inspired her. “What does he inspire you to do, leave your husband and three kids and your practice and go work for Doctors Without Borders?” Ferraro snapped in response.

    Ferraro was livid, and distraught. What more did Hillary Clinton have to do to prove herself? How could anyone — least of all Ferraro’s own daughter — fail to grasp the historic significance of electing a woman president, in probably the only chance the country would have to do so for years to come? Ferraro hung up enraged, not so much at her daughter but at the world. Clinton was being unfairly cast aside, and, along with her, the dreams of a generation and a movement.

    As the primaries played on that spring, the same scene played out in living rooms from coast to coast. Mothers and grandmothers who saw themselves in Clinton and formed the core of her support faced a confounding phenomenon: Their daughters did not much care whether a woman won or lost. There was nothing, in their view, all that special about electing a woman — particularly this woman — president. Not when the milestone of electing an African American president was at hand.

    Clinton, the former first lady and one of the most famous women in the world, had spent all of 2007 as the overwhelming front-runner, leading in all the national polls and raising huge amounts of cash. She looked like the inevitable nominee, and her effortless climb reinforced what young women thought they knew: Pretty much every battle of the sexes had already been waged and won. Raised in a world where women made up more than half of all undergraduates on college campuses and half of the students in all law and medical schools, where discrimination was illegal, where nearly half the work force was female and their mothers had been free to work — or not — younger women were not drawn to Clinton by any sense of history, and they recoiled at being told they should be. Feminism had long ago been declared dead, then rendered meaningless.

    To younger voters, Clinton was both a relic of that era and a victim of its success. She was the wrong woman at the wrong time; she was a Clinton; she hadn’t gotten there on her own; a woman could be elected another year. After all, the reasoning went, it would be easy enough next time. Look how simple it had been for her.

    The generational divide would rip through families and the feminist movement, exposing a fault line that had been lurking under the surface for years. Daughters heard from mothers everywhere. When Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) decided to endorse Obama rather than Clinton, she got an earful from her mother back home. “I guess some people will do what some people have to do,” her mother said in an acerbic voice mail message, adding: “but for some of us, this will be our last election.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/23/AR2009122301315.html

  118. DECEMBER 26, 2009.

    Kerry of Tehran…His trip would convey legitimacy that the dictatorship is especially eager to have at the current moment..

    John Kerry lost the Secretary of State sweepstakes to Hillary Clinton, but that hasn’t lowered his diplomatic ambitions. The Journal reported Thursday that the Senate Foreign Relations Chairman is mulling a trip to Iran, and with the blessing of the Obama Administration.

    If the mullahs had any sense, they’d send him a government plane. Beset by almost daily demonstrations by a democratic opposition that has been growing despite beatings and arrests since the stolen June election, Mr. Kerry would arrive from Washington to show the Iranian people that at least someone still favors the regime. He would be the most senior American to visit Tehran in 30 years and his trip would convey legitimacy that the dictatorship is especially eager to have at the current moment.

    The Kerry mission would also look like a panicky effort to persuade the Ayatollah Ali Khamanei to accept the increasingly plaintive U.S. offers of engagement. Mr. Obama has set the end of this month as his latest deadline for progress on nuclear talks before he says he’ll seek tougher sanctions against Iran at the U.N.

    But if a year of personal Presidential letters and Administration entreaties hasn’t worked, why would a Senatorial trip? The regime would probably exploit the visit for its own domestic purposes, perhaps adding to its P.R. coup by releasing to Mr. Kerry the three hapless American hikers it has promised to put on trial for having “suspicious aims” as they wandered across the border with Iraq.

    The Iranians who need support now are the democrats in prison, in the streets, and increasingly in the mosques as the regime loses its legitimacy even among many clerics. Please do them no more harm, Senator.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704039704574616271463790160.html

  119. This health care bill is federal and yet by rewarding certain states at the expense of others it denies all Americans the equal protection of the law. One of the common law maxims of Equity is: equality is equity. Hence this bill is inequitable. Also,they claim it bends the cost curve bent to which I say horse shit. Taxes go up, costs go up, benefits go down over the next ten years. This data is available if you google this article.

    The Real Price of the Senate Health Bill
    Pushing health-care reform through the Senate will hurt Democrats.

    By KARL ROVE

    By now Majority Leader Harry Reid’s explanation for how he is getting his health-care bill through the Senate has pinged its way across the country. “I don’t know if there is a senator that doesn’t have something in this bill that was important to them,” he said this week. “And if they don’t have something in it important to them, then it doesn’t speak well of them.” But take these comments two steps further and it becomes clear that how Mr. Reid reached unanimity in his caucus could hurt Democrats more than they realize.

    First, taking Mr. Reid at his word means every Democratic senator got something. That implies there are even more howlers to discover that will dog Democrats next year.

    After all, we now know Florida Sen. Bill Nelson got $3.5 billion to pay for seniors in his state to keep their Medicare Advantage policies when seniors in other states will be forced out of theirs. This wasn’t a late add. It was just missed in the opaque language of the original Senate bill.

    Second, any Democrat who assumes that it’s OK to pass a bad bill because it includes a good deal for them is missing a larger dynamic of the Senate. When costs balloon, as they will, Congress will have to revisit health care. When it does, it will have little incentive to cut deals with individual senators when the public is clamoring about costs and there is no need to scramble for every vote.

    About Karl Rove

    Karl Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007 and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004–2007. At the White House he oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, coordinating the White House policy-making process.

    Before Karl became known as “The Architect” of President Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns, he was president of Karl Rove + Company, an Austin-based public affairs firm that worked for Republican candidates, nonpartisan causes, and nonprofit groups. His clients included over 75 Republican U.S. Senate, Congressional and gubernatorial candidates in 24 states, as well as the Moderate Party of Sweden.

    Karl writes a weekly op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, is a Newsweek columnist and is the author of the forthcoming book “Courage and Consequence” (Threshold Editions).

    Email the author atKarl@Rove.comor visit him on the web atRove.com. Or, you can send a Tweet to @karlrove.

    Ah, a beam of light! And one that reveals the problem with getting short-term benefits for a state in exchange for long-term costs for the nation.

    Consider that, thanks to senators from each state, Vermont gets $600 million for its Medicaid program and Massachusetts $500 million. But for the former the money runs out in six years and for the latter in just three.

    Ben Nelson also won an exemption from the tax being levied on other Medigap insurance providers for Mutual of Omaha. There’s also the “Nebraska-Michigan Compromise” in which Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies in both states get a carve-out on the insurance tax while the rest of the country’s Blues get socked with it. How long that lasts may depend on how honest Democrats were in estimating costs. The pricier their bill is, the more likely this deal is upended.

    OpinionJournal Related Stories:

    Review & Outlook: The Price of ‘History’
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    There are two deals that won’t be going away any time soon. One comes from Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester and extends Medicare to anyone exposed to a health hazard subject to a federal emergency declaration as of June 17, 2009. That would be people who live near the Libby, Mont., superfund site. Even a revenue-hungry Congress will find repealing that unpalatable. This provision involves a small number of people, but giving out special Medicare coverage is a dangerous precedent.

    The other deal exempts insurance policies provided to longshoremen from the 40% excise tax slapped on “Cadillac” health-care plans. Unless the influence of the longshoremen’s union wanes, this perk is about as permanent as you’ll find in politics.

    View Full Image

    Associated Press
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
    This is a partial list, but what we’ll get for it all is rationed care and exploding deficits. Taxes start going up now, Medicare cuts begin after next fall’s election, and spending for subsidies commences in five years. The price tag is not the first decade’s announced $871 billion cost: It is $2.4 trillion. That’s the cost of the tax credits in insurance exchanges, and the additional Medicaid costs the reform generates, over the first 10 years it’s fully up and running, according to Congressional Budget Office numbers compiled by Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee.

    Mr. Reid greased a Christmas Eve Senate passage of his bill, but he did so in a way that taints the product. It will hinder the Obama administration’s efforts to fashion a House-Senate conference bill, as well as that 40-year majority Democrats once thought was within their grasp.

    Mr. Rove, the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, is the author of the forthcoming book “Courage and Consequence” (Threshold Editions).

  120. Jan–this Kornbutt is a disgrace to the womens movement. She was right there in the middle of the Matthews dissembling on Hilllary and did absolutely nothing to discourage it. She was a Hillary opponent from the beginning and was forever slipping in catty comments about Hillary and her campaign. For a maggot like her to presume to lecture anyone about breaking the glass ceiling is hypocrisy at its worst. Or to say do not take young women for granted. The collective judgment they displayed in voting overwhelmingly for Obama suggests that an appeal to them based on logic as opposed to magic thinking is a fools errand.

  121. Apros of the above, my Cuban friend told me that when Castro came to power his mother and father were taken in completely by the glib visionary revolutionary leader. They were college students then, and their sentiments were no different from those of the poet Wordsworth speaking of the French Revolution, i.e. “bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven”. It made no difference to them that across the channel, in Paris, just outside the Tulleries Garden the rabble of Paris was gathered or that the Devil’s tooth was doing its appointed work. The dream of a brave new world, their petty indulgence in magic thinking was all that mattered. His grandfather, a sober realist, a hero of old Cuba, was not taken in. He warned them where this path would lead, and two years later, a whole system of oppression and re-education had been installed. By then, his parents were appalled, but it was too late. The only answer was to leave Cuba and that proved to be a harrowing adventure worthy of a film noire classic. But when it comes to politics youth like love is blind.

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